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Munoz J.-N.,Don Ana Biological Station | Eritja R.,Servei de Control de Mosquits | Alcaide M.,Don Ana Biological Station | Alcaide M.,Harvard University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Medical Entomology | Year: 2011

The feeding patterns of haematophagous arthropods are of major importance in the amplification and transmission of infectious disease agents to vertebrate hosts, including humans. The establishment of new vector populations in nonnative range might alter transmission networks. The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse) represents an example of how an invasive species can alter the risk of viral transmission to humans. Blood meal molecular identification from two sympatric mosquito species (the invasive Ae. albopictus and the native Culex pipiens) was carried out by polymerase chain reaction-based methods. Samples were collected in Barcelona metropolitan area, Spain, from June to October 2009 as part of a monitoring-control program. Blood meals were identified to the species level in 30 Ae. albopictus and 43 Cx. pipiens. Ae. albopictus acquired blood exclusively from human hosts (100%), whereas Cx. pipiens fed on a diversity of avian and mammalian hosts, including 35.7% of blood meals from humans. Based on mosquito diet, our results suggest that the Ae. albopictus invasion in Spain might increase the risk of virus transmission to humans and could support local outbreaks of imported tropical viruses such as dengue and chikungunya. However, in the studied area, the presence of this invasive species would have a negligible effect on the transmission of zoonotic agents such as West Nile virus. However, Cx. pipiens could amplify and transmit West Nile virus, but avian contribution to its diet was lower than that reported in North America. Feeding patterns of these mosquito species may help to understand the flavivirus outbreaks recently reported in southwestern Europe. © 2011 Entomological Society of America.

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