The vertebrate hosts of 672 blood-engorged Culex quinquefasciatus Say, collected in Harris County, Texas, during 2005, were identified by nucleotide sequencing PCR products of the cytochrome b gene. Analysis revealed that 39.1% had acquired blood from birds, 52.5% from mammals, and 8.3% were mixed avian and mammalian blood meals. Most frequent vertebrate hosts were dog (41.0%), mourning dove (18.3%), domestic cat (8.8%), white-winged dove (4.3%), house sparrow (3.2%), house finch (3.0%), gray catbird (3.0%), and American robin (2.5%). Results are interpreted in conjunction with concurrent avian and mosquito West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance activities in Harris County. We conclude that Cx. quinquefasciatus is an opportunistic feeder and principal mosquito vector of WNV in this metropolitan area; however, transmission by other mosquito species or by other modes of infection, such as ingestion, must account for the high WNV infection rates among local blue jays and American crows.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases