Evidence of Ross River (RR) virus infection in field-collected mosquitoes and data from laboratory vector competence experiments incriminated a range of mosquito species as important vectors of RR virus in Maroochy Shire, Queensland, Australia. Nine RR and 2 Barmah Forest virus isolates were recovered from 27,529 mosquitoes collected in light traps from Maroochy Shire during 1996. Nine of the 10 most abundant mosquito species collected in light traps were fed on blood containing the B94/20 strain RR isolated from Queensland in 1994. All species except for Culex sitiens Wiedemann were susceptible to experimental infection. Evidence of RR virus transmission to mice was found with Aedes vigilax (Skuse), Aedes funereus (Theobald), Aedes procax (Skuse), Culex annulirostris Skuse, Mansonia uniformis (Theobald) and Culex australicus Dobrotworsky & Drummond. Aedes notoscriptus (Skuse) and Aedes multiplex (Theobald) were susceptible to RR virus infection, although there was no evidence of virus transmission. Based on adult abundance and vector competence results, freshwater species such as Cx. annulirostris, Ae. procax, and Ae. funereus, and saltmarsh Ae. vigilax, appear to be important vectors of RR virus in Maroochy Shire and control programs should be revised to include these species.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1