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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-97

Pilot survey of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) from southeastern Georgia, USA for Wolbachia and Rickettsia felis (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae)


1 Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA
2 Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro; Georgia Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Correspondence Address:
Marina E Eremeeva
Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, 501 Forrest Drive, Statesboro, GA 30458
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.263714

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Background & objectives: Mosquito surveillance is one of the critical functions of local health departments, particularly in the context of outbreaks of severe mosquito-borne viral infections. Unfortunately, some viral and parasitic infections transmitted by mosquitoes, manifests non-specific clinical symptoms which may actually be of rickettsial etiology, including Rickettsia felis infections. This study tested the hypothesis that mosquitoes from southeastern Georgia, USA may be infected with Rickettsia felis and Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacterium of the order Rickettsiales. Methods: Specimens of the five most common mosquito species occurring in the region were collected using gravid and light-traps and identified using morphological keys. Mosquitoes were then pooled by species, sex, trap and collection site and their DNA was extracted. Molecular methods were used to confirm mosquito identification, and presence of Wolbachia and R. felis. Results: Wolbachia DNA was detected in 90.8% of the mosquito pools tested, which included 98% pools of Cx. quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae), 95% pools of Ae. albopictus Skuse (Diptera: Culicidae), and 66.7% of pools of Cx. pipiens complex. Samples of An. punctipennis Say (Diptera: Culicidae) and An. crucians Wiedemann (Diptera: Culicidae) were tested negative for Wolbachia DNA. Three genotypes of Wolbachia sp. belonging to Group A (1 type) and Group B (2 types) were identified. DNA of R. felis was not found in any pool of mosquitoes tested. Interpretation & conclusions: This study provides a pilot data on the high presence of Wolbachia in Cx. quinque-fasciatus and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes prevalent in the study region. Whether the high prevalence of Wolbachia and its genetic diversity in mosquitoes affects the mosquitoes’ susceptibility to R. felis infection in Georgia will need further evaluation.


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