As part of investigations into Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus and related flaviviruses in northern Australia, 153,529 mosquitoes were collected and processed for virus isolation from the Gulf Plains region of northwest Queensland. Collections from within 30 km of each of the townships of Croydon, Normanton and Karumba yielded 3,087 (2.0%), 66,009 (43.0%), and 84,433 (55.0%) mosquitoes, respectively, from which 16 viruses were isolated. Four isolates of Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), two of Kunjin (KUN), three of Ross River (RR), and one of Sindbis (SIN) viruses were obtained from Culex sitiens subgroup mosquitoes. Molecular identification of the mosquito species composition of these virus positive pools revealed that most isolates were from pools containing mainly Culex annulirostris Skuse and low numbers of Culex palpalis (Taylor). Only three pools, one each of MVE, KUN, and RR, were from mosquitoes identified exclusively as Cx. annulirostris. Other viruses isolated include one Edge Hill virus from Ochlerotatus normanensis (Taylor), an isolate of SIN from Anopheles meraukensis Venhuis, two isolates of RR from Anopheles amictus Edwards, and single isolates of RR from Anopheles bancroftii Giles and Aedes lineatopennis (Ludlow). The isolate of RR from Ae. lineatopennis was the first reported from this species. The public health implications of these isolations in the Gulf Plains region are discussed briefly.
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Vol. 39 • No. 5