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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Arthropod vectored disease transmission is dependent on insects becoming infected by feeding on diseased hosts. The objective of this project is to test if mosquitoes and flies are more attracted to diseased animals than infected ones. If there is a quantifiable preference for diseased animals, the increased feeding may be associated with behavioral or physiological changes in the host.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The feeding preferences of the mosquitoes and flies will be quantified to determine if infected animals are preferentially fed upon. If this is found, then the odor volatiles from infected animals will be collected and compared to healthy animals. Differences in odor volatile profiles will be tested with electro-antennal detection (EAD) to determine the mosquito or flies attraction to the specific components of the odor profile.

3. Progress Report:
The goal of disease vector surveillance is to have the monitoring trap captures be as close as possible to the vector population within the trapping environment. Therefore more efficient traps that sample a larger proportion of the population’s habitat should improve vector surveillance sensitivity and efficacy. This project on biting midge disease vector attractants was done in collaboration with Kansas State University. The objective is to collect and analyze volatiles to identify compounds that elicit positive taxis. The three project consists of: 1) Using yeast and sugar water solutions to attract midges. This did not work because the volatiles from the yeast were not strong enough and the yeast conversion rate of sugar to CO2 was too low. 2) Collecting sex-specific volatiles. Compounds were collected and whole extract was tested for attraction. Midges were not significantly attracted to the whole extracts compared to the controls. 3) Identifying attractive compounds on the cuticular surface. Whole extracts from the surface were not significantly more attractive than control substances. All three projects remain ongoing as a new y-tube olfactometer is being constructed. The goal remains to identify and patent a chemo-attractant that will improve disease vector monitoring in domestic and rural environments in the event of an outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, bluetongue, vesicular stomatitis virus or a Schmallenberg virus introduction to the United States.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 2/23/2016
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