West Nile virus (WNV) is currently active in Kenya as evidenced by the detection of antibodies in birds bled as part of an avian influenza surveillance program in 2009. Although WNV has been isolated from several mosquito species in Kenya, no studies have ever been conducted to determine which of these species are competent vectors of this virus. Therefore, we allowed Kenyan mosquitoes to feed on 2- or 3-d-old chickens that had been infected with a Lineage one strain of WNV 24–48 h earlier. These mosquitoes were tested ≈2 wk later to determine infection, dissemination, and transmission rates. All five species [Culex quinquefasciatus Say, Culex univittatus Theobald, Culex vansomereni Edwards, Mansonia africana (Theobald), and Mansonia uniformis (Theobald)] were susceptible to infection, but disseminated infections were detected only in the three Culex, and not the two Mansonia species. Culex mosquitoes with a disseminated infection readily transmitted virus by bite, but even when inoculated with WNV, the two Mansonia failed to transmit virus, indicating a salivary gland barrier. These studies indicate that the three Culex species may play a role in the transmission of WNV in Kenya.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6