Aedes albopictus is an important vector of chikungunya virus (CHIKV). In Australia, Ae. albopictus is currently only known to be present on the islands of the Torres Strait but, should it invade the mainland, it is projected to spread to temperate regions. The ability of Australian Ae. albopictus to transmit CHIKV at the lower temperatures typical of temperate areas has not been assessed. Ae. albopictus mosquitoes were orally challenged with a CHIKV strain from either Asian or East/Central/South African (ECSA) genotypes (107 pfu/mL), and maintained at a constant temperature of either 18◦C or 28◦C. At 3-and 7-days post-infection (dpi), CHIKV RNA copies were quantified in mosquito bodies, and wings and legs using real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), while the detection of virus in saliva (a proxy for transmission) was performed by amplification in cell culture followed by observation of cytopathic effect in Vero cells. Of the ≥95% of Ae. albopictus that survived to 7 dpi, all mosquitoes became infected and showed body dissemination of CHIKV at both temperatures and time points. Both the Asian and ECSA CHIKV genotypes were potentially transmissible by Australian Ae. albopictus at 28◦C within 3 days of oral challenge. In contrast, at 18◦C none of the mosquitoes showed evidence of ability to transmit either genotype of CHIKV at 3 dpi. Further, at 18◦C only Ae. albopictus infected with the ECSA genotype showed evidence of virus in saliva at 7 dpi. Overall, infection with the ECSA CHIKV genotype produced higher virus loads in mosquitoes compared to infection with the Asian CHIKV genotype. Our results suggest that lower ambient temperatures may impede transmission of some CHIKV strains by Ae. albopictus at early time points post infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Molecular Biology
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases