Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus were fed blood containing either 7.0 ± 0.1 logs plaque-forming units (pfu)/ml (high dose) or 5.9 ± 0.1 logs pfu/ml (low dose) of West Nile virus and held at extrinsic incubation temperatures (EIT) of 28°C or 25°C. Approximately 20 mosquitoes per dose were collected after incubation periods (IP) of 4, 6, 8, and 12 days postinfection (dpi). Infection rates were influenced by EIT and virus dose but not by IP. Body titer was significantly higher for mosquitoes fed the high dose and held at 28°C at the later IPs (6, 8, and 12 dpi). However, leg titer was significantly higher for mosquitoes at the later IPs but did not differ between EITs or doses. Because infection rates varied with EIT and dose, there is likely a midgut infection barrier influenced by these factors that is not influenced by IP. Dissemination rates were influenced by all 3 factors consistent with the presence of a midgut escape barrier. Dissemination rate, body titer, and leg titer were dependent on IP, indicating the need to investigate multiple time points in vector competence studies to elucidate critical events in infection and dissemination.
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Vol. 26 • No. 1