Increased mosquito feeding on Rift Valley fever virus-infected lambs

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1984 Nov;33(6):1232-8. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.1984.33.1232.


Experiments were conducted to determine whether or not mosquitoes exhibited an increase in feeding on Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus-infected lambs as compared to uninfected ones. Overall, when given a choice between a viremic lamb, or its uninfected twin, 65% (1,264/1,943) of the engorged female Culex pipiens obtained blood from the viremic lamb. This excess of feedings on viremic lambs was demonstrated regardless of the age of the lambs, or the time period between inoculation of the lambs and exposure to mosquitoes. With 3-day-old and 6- to 8-week-old lambs, 66% of the mosquitoes obtained blood from the viremic lamb. At 28, 48, and 52 hours after infection, the percentages of mosquitoes feeding on viremic lambs were 72, 68, and 64, respectively. Temperature, as measured by the difference in temperature of the viremic lamb minus that of the control lamb, was positively correlated with mosquito feedings on young lambs (3 days old), but not on older lambs (6 to 8 weeks old). When Cx. pipiens and Aedes taeniorhynchus were simultaneously given the opportunity to feed on 3-week-old lambs, a significantly higher percentage of engorged Cx. pipiens (94/108, 87%) fed on the viremic lamb than did engorged Ae. taeniorhynchus (187/350, 53%). The data generated by this study (e.g., an excess of feedings on the viremic lambs) warrant further study to determine the significance of this observation under field conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature
  • Culex / physiology
  • Culicidae / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Insect Vectors / physiology
  • Rift Valley Fever / parasitology*
  • Rift Valley Fever / transmission
  • Rift Valley fever virus
  • Sheep / microbiology*
  • Sheep / parasitology