Potential West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV) vectors were assessed during 2003 at indoor and outdoor collection sites in urban Volgograd, Russia, and in three nearby towns and surrounding rural areas. In total, 9,182 female mosquitoes comprising 13 species in six genera were collected. Relative abundance and bloodmeal host utilization differed temporarily and spatially. During June and July in Volgograd, Aedes vexans (Meigen) (85.4%) and Culex p. pipiens L. (7.6%) were the two most abundant species collected indoors, whereas during August, Cx. p. pipiens was the dominant species, accounting for 87.9% of specimens collected. Two WNV-positive mosquito pools were detected in August: one pool was composed of Cx. p. pipiens and the other pool of Culex modestus Ficalbi. Anopheles messeae Falleroni, Aedes caspius (Pallas), Ae. vexans, Cx. modestus, and Cx. p. pipiens used both humans and birds as bloodmeal sources. In urban areas, 20.4% of the Cx. p. pipiens fed on humans, 58.1% fed on chickens, and six specimens were positive for both chicken and human blood. Culex p. pipiens collected from flooded basements were predominantly autogenous (91.7%), whereas adult females resting in buildings with dry basements were composed of 67.5% anautogenous and 32.5% autogenous specimens. Our data suggest that the primary WNV vectors in the Volgograd region were Cx. p. pipiens and Cx. modestus and that intense transmission of WNV to humans in urban areas during the epidemic of 1999 may have been facilitated by the abundance and concentration of anautogenous Cx. p. pipiens in multistory buildings. The role of autogenous Cx. p. pipiens in urban transmission remains unresolved.
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