Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a flavivirus that is transmitted by Culex (Cx.) tritaeniorhynchus in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. The endemic transmission cycle involves domestic pigs and avian species that serve as amplification hosts; humans are incidental hosts that cannot develop a high-titer viremia sufficient for mosquito infection. Although vaccination can be an effective strategy for disease prevention and is used extensively in multiple Asian countries, unvaccinated immunologically naïve human populations can suffer from severe neurological sequelae. The potential introduction of JEV into North America would be a major threat to human and animal health. In this study, field-collected Cx. quinquefasciatus from Valdosta, Georgia, were tested for their susceptibility to JEV and their potential to develop a disseminated infection via per os infection. These results demonstrate that North American Cx. quinquefasciatus are susceptible to JEV infection and subsequent dissemination at 14 days post infection (d.p.i.). Detection of viral RNA in saliva from infected mosquitoes also indicates competent vectors for JEV can be found in North America.
- Japanese encephalitis virus
- North American Culex species mosquitoes
- Vector competence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases