A new strain of Culex flavivirus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, CxFV), an insect virus first described in Japan, was isolated from adult Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) collected in 2006 from Izabal Department on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Mosquito pools were assayed for flavivirus RNA by using flavivirus group-specific primers that amplified a 720-bp region of the nonstructural (NS) 5 gene by standard reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. From 210 pools (1,699 mosquitoes), eight tested positive, and six of these mosquito pools produced virus isolates in Aedes albopictus Skuse C6/36 cells. Nucleotide sequence comparison of the eight flavivirus RNA-positive pools showed that there was 100% identity among them, and phylogenetic analysis of the NS5 and envelope gene regions indicated that they represent a strain of the recently described CxFV from Japan. This is the first report of an insect flavivirus from Central America.
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Vol. 45 • No. 6