Host-feeding patterns of Culex pipiens L. collected in southwest suburban Chicago in 2005 were studied using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing techniques. Culex spp. mosquitoes, most identified to Cx. pipiens and the remainder to Cx. restuans by PCR, had fed on 18 avian species, most commonly American robin (Turdus migratorious), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), and mourning dove (Zenaida macroura). Additional blood meals were derived from four mammal species, primarily humans and raccoons (Procyon lotor). During a West Nile virus (WNV) epidemic in 2005, West Nile virus (WNV) RNA was detected in heads and thoraces of five Cx. pipiens (n = 335, 1.5%) using quantitative PCR. The hosts of these virus-infected, blood-fed mosquitoes included two American robins, one house sparrow, and one human. This is the first report of a WNV-infected Cx. pipiens mosquito collected during an epidemic of WNV that was found to have bitten a human. These results fulfill a criterion for incrimination of Cx. pipiens as a bridge vector.
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Vol. 45 • No. 1