We conducted experimental studies to evaluate mosquitoes captured in Paju County, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea, for their ability to transmit West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, JEV), and Getah virus (family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus, GETV) under laboratory conditions. Both Culex pipiens pallens Coquillett and Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles were highly susceptible to infection with WNV, with infection rates >65% when allowed to feed on chickens with viremias of ≈107 plaque-forming units (PFU) of virus/ml blood. In contrast, Cx. tritaeniorhynchus were significantly more susceptible to JEV or GETV (infection rate 100%) than were the Cx. p. pallens (infection rate 3% for JEV and 0% for GETV) captured in the same area when allowed to feed on chickens with viremias of ≈105 PFU of virus/ml blood. The detection of JEV in field-collected Cx. tritaeniorhynchus in Gyeonggi Province in 2000 and the demonstrated ability of this species to transmit this virus support the importance of the continued vaccination of Koreans against JEV and indicate a risk of infection for nonvaccinated individuals.
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Vol. 43 • No. 5