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1 March 2010 Occurrence of Avian Plasmodium and West Nile Virus in Culex Species in Wisconsin
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The occurrence of multiple pathogens in mosquitoes and birds could affect the dynamics of disease transmission. We collected adult Culex pipiens and Cx. restuans (Cx. pipiens/restuans hereafter) from sites in Wisconsin and tested them for West Nile virus (WNV) and for avian malaria (Plasmodium). Gravid Cx. pipiens/restuans were tested for WNV using a commercial immunoassay, the RAMP® WNV test, and positive results were verified by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction. There were 2 WNV-positive pools of Cx. pipiens/restuans in 2006 and 1 in 2007. Using a bias-corrected maximum likelihood estimation, the WNV infection rate for Cx. pipiens/restuans was 5.48/1,000 mosquitoes in 2006 and 1.08/1,000 mosquitoes in 2007. Gravid Cx. pipiens or Cx. restuans were tested individually for avian Plasmodium by a restriction enzyme–based assay. Twelve mosquitoes were positive for avian Plasmodium (10.0%), 2 were positive for Haemoproteus, and 3 were positive for Leucocytozoon. There were 4 mixed infections, with mosquitoes positive for >1 of the hemosporidian parasites. This work documents a high rate of hemosporidian infection in Culex spp. and illustrates the potential for co-infections with other arboviruses in bird-feeding mosquitoes and their avian hosts. In addition, hemosporidian infection rates may be a useful tool for investigating the ecological dynamics of Culex/avian interactions.

Tony Hughes, Patrick Irwin, Erik Hofmeister, and Susan M. Paskewitz "Occurrence of Avian Plasmodium and West Nile Virus in Culex Species in Wisconsin," Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 26(1), 24-31, (1 March 2010).
Published: 1 March 2010

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