Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus Say mosquitoes from a laboratory colony were exposed to artificial blood meals containing West Nile virus (WNV) and held at incubation temperatures approximating average daily temperatures that occur during Florida arboviral periods. Mosquitoes fed blood meals containing 6.2 logs plaque-forming units (pfu) WNV/mL and held at 25°C, 28°C, or 30°C for 13 days exhibited significantly different rates of infection (30%, 52%, 93%) and dissemination (33%, 22%, 81%) across temperatures. In a separate experiment, Cx. p. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes were provided artificial blood meals with graded doses of WNV from 3.7 to 5.8 logs pfu/mL and maintained at 28°C for 13 days. Rates of infection increased as a function of virus dose, but neither body titers nor dissemination rates were significantly different for mosquitoes that were infected by ingesting different amounts of WNV. Our findings indicate that efficiency of WNV infection and dissemination, and thereby transmission, in Cx. p. quinquefasciatus populations similar to our tested colony may also be diminished when fed blood meals containing less than 5.8 logs pfu WNV/mL and when environmental temperature falls below 30°C. The relationship between the infection rate and dissemination rate changed at different temperatures. This relationship is likely complex and dependent on diverse interactions between factors such as incubation temperature and viremia, which should also be assessed for field populations.
- Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus Say
- Extrinsic incubation temperature
- Vector competence
- West Nile virus