Background: The causative agent of yellow fever is an arbovirus of the Flaviviridae family transmitted by infected Aedes mosquitoes, particularly in Africa. In the Central African Republic since 2006, cases have been notified in the provinces of Ombella-Mpoko, Ouham-Pende, Basse-Kotto, Haute-Kotto and in Bangui the capital. As the presence of a vector of yellow fever virus (YFV) represents a risk for spread of the disease, we undertook entomological investigations at these sites to identify potential vectors of YFV and their abundance.
Findings: Between 2006 and 2010, 5066 mosquitoes belonging to six genera and 43 species were identified. The 20 species of the Aedes genus identified included Ae. aegypti, the main vector of YFV in urban settings, and species found in tropical forests, such as Ae. africanus, Ae. simpsoni, Ae. luteocephalus, Ae. vittatus and Ae. opok. These species were not distributed uniformly in the various sites studied. Thus, the predominant Aedes species was Ae. aegypti in Bangui (90.7 %) and Basse-Kotto (42.2 %), Ae. africanus in Ombella-Mpoko (67.4 %) and Haute-Kotto (77.8 %) and Ae. vittatus in Ouham-Pende (62.2 %). Ae. albopictus was also found in Bangui. The distribution of these dominant species differed significantly according to study site (P < 0.0001). None of the pooled homogenates of Aedes mosquitoes analysed by polymerase chain reaction contained the YFV genome.
Conclusion: The results indicate a wide diversity of vector species for YFV in the Central African Republic. The establishment of surveillance and vector control programs should take into account the ecological specificity of each species.