The rapid spread of West Nile viral activity across North America since its discovery in 1999 illustrates the potential for an exotic arbovirus to be introduced and become widely established across North America. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) has been responsible for large outbreaks in Africa that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of human infections and major economic disruption due to loss of livestock and to trade restrictions. However, little is known about the potential for mosquitoes in Canada to transmit this virus, should it be introduced into North America. Therefore, we evaluated mosquito species captured near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, for their ability to serve as potential vectors for RVFV. Mosquitoes were exposed to RVFV by allowing them to feed on adult hamsters inoculated the previous day with RVFV. These mosquitoes were tested for infection, dissemination, and the ability to transmit RVFV after incubation at 25°C for 14–18 days. Based on the detection of virus in saliva collected in capillary tubes, individual Culex tarsalis, Aedes sticticus, and Coquillettidia perturbans were able to transmit RVFV under laboratory conditions. These preliminary results suggest that these 3 species may be able to transmit RVFV, should this virus be introduced into Canada.
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