Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus (genus Alphavirus, family Togaviridae) that has recently caused disease outbreaks in the Indian Ocean basin and southern Europe. These outbreaks could be associated with a possible shift in primary vector from Aedes aegypti to Ae. albopictus. To evaluate vector competence differences in possible CHIKV vectors, we evaluated the dose-dependant susceptibility of Florida strains of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti for infection with a La Réunion island strain of CHIKV. Pledget and water-jacketed membrane feeding systems were also evaluated. We show that both Aedes spp. were susceptible to the highest CHIKV doses, whereas only Ae. albopictus developed disseminated infections after exposure to the two lowest doses. Infection rates for both mosquito species were significantly affected by the bloodmeal delivery method used. This information is important in assessing risk of an outbreak of imported CHIKV in the United States, in determining differences in vectorial capacity of these two vector species, and in evaluating arbovirus delivery methods in the laboratory.
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Vol. 46 • No. 2