Emerging infectious disease events are frequently caused by arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) that are maintained in a zoonotic cycle between arthropod vectors and vertebrate wildlife species, with spillover to humans in areas where human and wildlife populations interface. The greater Congo basin region, including Uganda, has historically been a hot spot for emergence of known and novel arboviruses. Surveillance of arthropod vectors is a critical activity in monitoring and predicting outbreaks of arboviral disease, and identification of blood meals in engorged arthropods collected during surveillance efforts provides insight into the ecology of arboviruses and their vectors. As part of an ongoing arbovirus surveillance project we analyzed blood meals from engorged mosquitoes collected at five sites in western Uganda November 2008–June 2010. We extracted DNA from the dissected and triturated abdomens of engorged mosquito specimens. Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene sequence was amplified by PCR and sequenced to identify the source of the mosquito host blood. Blood meals were analyzed from 533 engorged mosquito specimens; 440 of these blood meals were successfully identified from 33 mosquito species. Species identifications were made for 285 of the 440 identified specimens with the remainder identified to genus, family, or order. When combined with published arbovirus isolation and serologic survey data, our results suggest possible vector-reservoir relationships for several arboviruses, including Rift Valley fever virus and West Nile virus.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3