Worldwide transmission and infection risk of mosquito vectors of West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, Usutu and Japanese encephalitis viruses: a systematic review

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 6;13(1):308. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-27236-1.


The increasing trend of mosquito-borne pathogens demands more accurate global estimations of infection and transmission risks between mosquitoes. Here, we systematically review field and laboratory studies to assess the natural field infection and experimental laboratory transmission risk in Culex mosquitoes. We studied four worldwide flaviviruses: West Nile, Usutu, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis, belonging to the Japanese encephalitis Serocomplex (JES). The PRISMA statement was carried out for both approaches. The Transmission-Infection Risk of the diverse mosquito species for the different viruses was estimated through seven variables. We considered 130 and 95 articles for field and experimental approach, respectively. We identified 30 species naturally infected, and 23 species capable to transmit some of the four flaviviruses. For the JES, the highest Transmission-Infection Risk estimate was recorded in Culex quinquefasciatus (North America). The maximum Infection-Transmission Risk values for West Nile was Culex restuans, for Usutu it was Culex pipiens (Europe), for St. Louis encephalitis Culex quinquefasciatus (North America), and for Japanese encephalitis Culex gelidus (Oceania). We conclude that on a worldwide scale, a combination of field and experimental data offers a better way of understanding natural infection and transmission risks between mosquito populations.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culex*
  • Culicidae*
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Japanese*
  • Encephalitis, Japanese* / epidemiology
  • Encephalitis, St. Louis* / epidemiology
  • Flavivirus*
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • West Nile Fever*
  • West Nile virus*