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1 March 2015 Methods for Detection of West Nile Virus Antibodies in Mosquito Blood Meals
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We describe and compare 2 qualitative serologic techniques for detecting West Nile virus (WNV)-specific antibodies in mosquito blood meals. The techniques are the biotin microsphere immunoassay (b-MIA) and the inhibition platform of the VectorTest™ WNV antigen assay (VecTest-inhibition). To demonstrate the ability of these tests to detect WNV-neutralizing antibodies, we experimentally exposed feeding mosquitoes to blood containing 5 concentrations of 6B6C-1, a flavivirus-neutralizing monoclonal antibody. Antibody concentrations were quantified using the 90% plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT90). After 24 h of blood-meal digestion at 22.5°C, the threshold PRNT90 titer of detection was ≤18 for b-MIA and ≤50 for VecTest-inhibition. Both tests reliably detected antibodies in 3 of 3 blood meals that had been digested for up to 30 h, or were about 25% digested. The b-MIA was also applied to mosquitoes that had engorged on avian blood in Arizona following a WNV epidemic in 2010. There was no significant difference in the WNV antibody prevalence determined by b-MIA (52% of 71 avian blood meals) compared to the WNV-neutralizing antibody prevalence in birds determined by direct sampling (49% of 234 birds). VecTest-inhibition requires fewer resources and may be used in the field without a laboratory, but consumes the entire blood meal and relies on subjective interpretation of results. The b-MIA requires a laboratory and sophisticated equipment and reagents. Results for b-MIA are analyzed objectively and can be applied to mosquito blood meals with greater confidence than the VecTest-inhibition method and thus can contribute substantially to research and surveillance programs that would benefit from the detection of specific WNV antibodies in mosquito blood meals.

2015 by The American Mosquito Control Association, Inc.
Nicholas Komar, Nicholas A. Panella, Ginger R. Young, and Alison J. Basile "Methods for Detection of West Nile Virus Antibodies in Mosquito Blood Meals," Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 31(1), (1 March 2015).
Published: 1 March 2015

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