High rate of non-human feeding by aedes aegypti reduces zika virus transmission in South Texas

Mark F. Olson, Martial L. Ndeffo-Mbah, Jose G. Juarez, Selene Garcia-Luna, Estelle Martin, Monica K. Borucki, Matthias Frank, José Guillermo Estrada-Franco, Mario A. Rodríguez-Pérez, Nadia A. Fernández-Santos, Gloria De Jesús Molina-Gamboa, Santos Daniel Carmona Aguirre, Bernardita De Lourdes Reyes-Berrones, Luis Javier Cortés-De La Cruz, Alejandro García-Barrientos, Raúl E. Huidobro-Guevara, Regina M. Brussolo-Ceballos, Josue Ramirez, Aaron Salazar, Luis F. ChavesIsmael E. Badillo-Vargas, Gabriel L. Hamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mosquito-borne viruses are emerging or re-emerging globally, a_icting millions of people around the world. Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, is the principal vector of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses, and has well-established populations across tropical and subtropical urban areas of the Americas, including the southern United States. While intense arboviral epidemics have occurred in Mexico and further south in the Americas, local transmission in the United States has been minimal. Here, we study Ae. aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus host feeding patterns and vertebrate host communities in residential environments of South Texas to identify host-utilization relative to availability. Only 31% of Ae. aegypti blood meals were derived from humans, while 50% were from dogs and 19% from other wild and domestic animals. In Cx. quinquefasciatus, 67% of blood meals were derived from chicken, 22% came from dogs, 9% from various wild avian species, and 2% from other mammals including one human, one cat, and one pig. We developed a model for the reproductive number, R0, for Zika virus (ZIKV) in South Texas relative to northern Mexico using human disease data from Tamaulipas, Mexico. We show that ZIKV R0 in South Texas communities could be greater than one if the risk of human exposure to Ae. aegypti bites in these communities is at least 60% that of Northern Mexico communities. The high utilization of non-human vertebrates and low risk of human exposure in South Texas diminishes the outbreak potential for human-amplified urban arboviruses transmitted by Ae. aegypti.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number453
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Culex quinquefasciatus
  • Host selection
  • Reproductive number
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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