Transmission incompetence of culex quinquefasciatus and culex pipiens pipiens from North America for zika virus

Joan L. Kenney, Hannah Romo, Nisha K. Duggal, Wen Pin Tzeng, Kristen L. Burkhalter, Aaron Brault, Harry M. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In late 2014, Zika virus (ZIKV; Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) emerged as a significant arboviral disease threat in the Western hemisphere. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus have been considered the principal vectors of ZIKV in the New World due to viral isolation frequency and vector competence assessments. Limited reports of Culex transmission potential have highlighted the need for additional vector competence assessments of North American Culex species. Accordingly, North American Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus were orally exposed and intrathoracically inoculated with the African prototype ZIKV strain and currently circulating Asian lineage ZIKV strains to assess infection, dissemination, and transmission potential. Results indicated that these two North American Culex mosquito species were highly refractory to oral infection with no dissemination or transmission observed with any ZIKV strains assessed. Furthermore, both Culex mosquito species intrathoracically inoculated with either Asian or African lineage ZIKVs failed to expectorate virus in saliva. These in vivo results were further supported by the observation that multiple mosquito cell lines of Culex species origin demonstrated significant growth restriction of ZIKV strains compared with Aedes-derived cell lines. In summation, no evidence for the potential of Cx. pipiens or Cx. quinquefasciatus to serve as a competent vector for ZIKV transmission in North America was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1240
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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