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The distribution of potential West Nile virus vectors, Culex pipiens pipiens and Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae), in Mexico City

The distribution of potential West Nile virus vectors, Culex pipiens pipiens and Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae), in Mexico City

Parasites and Vectors 4: 70

ISSN/ISBN: 1756-3305

PMID: 21554725

DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-4-70

Culex spp. mosquitoes are considered to be the most important vectors of West Nile virus (WNV) detected in at least 34 species of mosquitoes in the United States. In North America, Culex pipiens pipiens, Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus, and Culex tarsalis are all competent vectors of WNV, which is considered to be enzootic in the United States and has also been detected in equines and birds in many states of Mexico and in humans in Nuevo Leon. There is potential for WNV to be introduced into Mexico City by various means including infected mosquitoes on airplanes, migrating birds, ground transportation and infected humans. Little is known of the geographic distribution of Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes and hybrids in Mexico City. Culex pipiens pipiens preferentially feed on avian hosts; Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus have historically been considered to prefer mammalian hosts; and hybrids of these two species could theoretically serve as bridge vectors to transmit WNV from avian hosts to humans and other mammalian hosts. In order to address the potential of WNV being introduced into Mexico City, we have determined the identity and spatial distribution of Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes and their hybrids. Mosquito larvae collected from 103 sites throughout Mexico City during 2004-2005 were identified as Culex, Culiseta or Ochlerotatus by morphological analysis. Within the genus Culex, specimens were further identified as Culex tarsalis or as belonging to the Culex pipiens complex. Members of the Culex pipiens complex were separated by measuring the ratio of the dorsal and ventral arms (DV/D ratio) of the male genitalia and also by using diagnostic primers designed for the Ace.2 gene. Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus was the most abundant form collected. Important WNV vectors species, Cx. p. pipiens, Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and Cx. tarsalis, are all present in Mexico City. Hybrids of Cx. p. pipiens and Cx. p. quinquefasciatus were also collected and identified. The presence and abundance of these WNV competent vectors is a cause for concern. Understanding the distribution of these vectors can help improve viral surveillance activities and mosquito control efforts in Mexico City.

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