To determine whether a Sindbis virus (family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus, SINV) infection in Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) affected its response to the repellent DEET, we orally exposed Ae. aegypti to an artificial bloodmeal containing SINV or diluent and then allowed to feed on a 10% sucrose suspension containing 3% DEET. When tested seven or more days after the initial bloodmeal, although none of the diluent-exposed mosquitoes fed on the DEET-sucrose suspension, at least 60% of the SINV-exposed mosquitoes fed on the suspension. When legs from the SINV-exposed mosquitoes were tested to determine dissemination status, 89% of those that fed on the DEET-sucrose suspension contained virus. In contrast, only 34% of the nonfeeders had a disseminated infection. When offered a choice between sucrose with or without DEET, a significantly higher percentage of the SINV-exposed mosquitoes than the control mosquitoes fed on the sucrose containing 3% DEET. Together, these results indicate that mosquitoes with a disseminated SINV infection may be less responsive to DEET than uninfected mosquitoes. Therefore, repellent use may be less effective in deterring infected mosquitoes from biting than previously believed.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6