We examined the potential for Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli), Phlebotomus duboscqi (Neveu-Lemarie), Phlebotomus sergenti (Parrot) , and Sergentomyia schwetzi (Adler, Theodor, & Parrot) to transmit Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus. After feeding on hamsters that had been inoculated with RVF virus, P. papatasi, P. sergenti, and S. schwetzi became infected and developed disseminated infections. All P. papatasi and P. duboscqi inoculated with RVF virus developed high-titer infections. In contrast, only 41% of the inoculated S. schwetzi contained detectable virus, and infected individuals contained significantly less virus than the two Phlebotomus species. Although 50% of the inoculated P. duboscqi transmitted RVF virus to hamsters, only 14% of P. papatasi and none of the S. schwetzi transmitted this virus. Additional studies are needed to determine the role of sand flies as vectors of RVF virus.
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