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Potential for sublethal insecticide exposure to impact vector competence of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) for dengue and Zika viruses

Authors Richards SL, White AV, Balanay JAG

Received 28 January 2017

Accepted for publication 3 May 2017

Published 29 May 2017 Volume 2017:8 Pages 53—57


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Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Unnasch

Stephanie L Richards, Avian V White, Jo Anne G Balanay

Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

Abstract: Chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses (CHIKV, family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus; DENV and ZIKV, family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus) are arboviruses that cause human epidemics. Due to the lack of vaccines for many mosquito-borne diseases, there is a need for mosquito control. In the US and other regions, residual barrier insecticide sprays are applied to foliage where female mosquitoes rest and/or sugar feed between blood meals. Residual sprays are an important control method for anthropogenic day-active sylvan mosquitoes such as Aedes albopictus (vector of CHIKV, DENV, and ZIKV) that are difficult to control using ultralow-volume sprays applied only at dusk or dawn when these mosquitoes are not active. In this exploratory study, we analyzed the extent to which ingestion of a sublethal dose of the active ingredient bifenthrin affected vector competence (i.e., infection, dissemination, and transmission) of Ae. albopictus for DENV and ZIKV. Two incubation periods (IPs; 7 and 14 d) were tested at 28°C for insecticide-fed and sugar-fed mosquitoes. We show that mosquitoes that were fed bifenthrin (0.128 µg/mL) mixed with sucrose solution exhibited significantly lower DENV infection rates and body titers after a 14-d IP. During the 7-d IP, one mosquito (sugar group) transmitted ZIKV. During the 14-d IP, 100% of mosquitoes showed body and leg ZIKV infections, and one mosquito (sugar+bifenthrin group) transmitted ZIKV. This is a preliminary communication, and more studies will be required to further investigate these findings. We expect the findings of this small-scale study to spur larger-scale investigations of the impacts of insecticides on mechanisms regulating vector competence, and exposure to other active ingredients, and aid in development of new insecticides.

Keywords: mosquito, insecticide exposure, arbovirus

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