Aedes mosquitoes acquire and transmit Zika virus by breeding in contaminated aquatic environments

Senyan Du, Yang Liu, Jianying Liu, Jie Zhao, Clara Champagne, Liangqin Tong, Renli Zhang, Fuchun Zhang, Cheng Feng Qin, Ping Ma, Chun Hong Chen, Guodong Liang, Qiyong Liu, Pei-Yong Shi, Bernard Cazelles, Penghua Wang, Huaiyu Tian, Gong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that predominantly circulates between humans and Aedes mosquitoes. Clinical studies have shown that Zika viruria in patients persists for an extended period, and results in infectious virions being excreted. Here, we demonstrate that Aedes mosquitoes are permissive to ZIKV infection when breeding in urine or sewage containing low concentrations of ZIKV. Mosquito larvae and pupae, including from field Aedes aegypti can acquire ZIKV from contaminated aquatic systems, resulting in ZIKV infection of adult females. Adult mosquitoes can transmit infectious virions to susceptible type I/II interferon receptor-deficient (ifnagr-/-) C57BL/6 (AG6) mice. Furthermore, ZIKV viruria from infected AG6 mice can causes mosquito infection during the aquatic life stages. Our studies suggest that infectious urine could be a natural ZIKV source, which is potentially transmissible to mosquitoes when breeding in an aquatic environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1324
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Du, S., Liu, Y., Liu, J., Zhao, J., Champagne, C., Tong, L., Zhang, R., Zhang, F., Qin, C. F., Ma, P., Chen, C. H., Liang, G., Liu, Q., Shi, P-Y., Cazelles, B., Wang, P., Tian, H., & Cheng, G. (2019). Aedes mosquitoes acquire and transmit Zika virus by breeding in contaminated aquatic environments. Nature communications, 10(1), [1324].