To determine abundance and seasonality of potential West Nile virus (WNV) mosquito vectors in a forested area of central Mississippi, mosquitoes were collected weekly from a wildlife management area located approximately 10 mi from a local urban area known to have numerous human WNV cases. We were particularly interested in the presence or absence of Culex quinquefasciatus, the primary vector of WNV in Mississippi, although other Culex species were assayed. Two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention light traps baited with CO2 were set once a week from 2005 through 2006 in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (PRWMA), which consists of 6,925 acres primarily composed of bottomland hardwood forest with wetland areas. Traps were placed midafternoon and picked up the following morning. A total of 199,222 mosquitoes were collected during the 2-year study. No Cx. quinquefasciatus were collected throughout the entire study, although other health department surveys have indicated they are abundant just a few miles away. As for other potential WNV vectors, 1,325 (0.6%) Cx. nigripalpus, 1,804 (0.9%) Cx. restuans, and 6,076 (3.1%) Cx. salinarius were collected in the PRWMA over the 2-year period. These data suggest that Cx. quinquefasciatus is not usually found in remote forested environments, but is more associated with human habitation.
West Nile virus