2017 Article - "Detection of West Nile Virus – Lineage 2 in Culex pipiens mosquitoes, associated with disease outbreak in Greece, 2017" (limited access)

Summary: During July-October 2017 a WNV outbreak took place in the Peloponnese, Southern Greece with five confirmed deaths. During routine monitoring survey in the Peloponnese, supported by the local Prefecture, we have confirmed the presence of all three Culex pipiens biotypes in the region, with a high percentage of Culex pipiens/molestus hybrids (37.0%) which are considered a highly competent vector of WNV. Kdr mutations related to pyrethroid resistance were found at relatively low levels (14.3% homozygosity) while no mosquitoes harboring the recently identified chitin synthase diflubenzuron-resistance mutations were detected in the region. As an immediate action, following the disease outbreak (within days), we collected a large number of mosquitoes using CO2 CDC traps from the villages in the Argolis area of the Peloponnese, where high incidence of WNV human infections were reported. WNV lineage 2 was detected in 3 out of 47 Cx. pipiens mosquito pools (detection rate=6.38%). The virus was not detected in any other mosquito species, such as Aedes albopictus, sampled from the region at the time of the disease outbreak. Our results show that detection of WNV lineage 2 in Cx. pipiens pools is spatially and chronologically associated with human clinical cases, thus implicating Cx. pipiens mosquitoes as the most likely WNV vector. The absence of diflubenzuron resistance mutations and the low frequency of pyrethroid (kdr) resistance mutations indicates the suitability of these insecticides for Cx. pipiens control, in the format of larvicides and/or residual spraying applications respectively, which was indeed the main (evidence based) response, following the disease outbreak.


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