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Research Project: Mosquito and West Nile Virus (WNV) Surveillance Strategies

Location: European Biological Control Laboratory

Project Number: 0212-22000-030-001-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 18, 2019
End Date: Aug 17, 2024

The main objective of the project is to develop and implement a West Nile virus surveillance system for the Region of Peloponnese, Greece. More specifically the actions of the project will include: 1. Development of a Center for Disease Control (CDC) mosquito light trap network for collection of adult mosquitoes. 2. Development of a pilot-small scale sentinel chicken network for monitoring WNV circulation. 3. Morphological and molecular (when needed) identification of collected mosquitoes. 4. Detection of WNV and other flaviviruses on the collected mosquito samples. 5. Detection of WNV antibodies in blood samples from sentinel chickens.

The personnel of the USDA-ARS EBCL in Greece have the scientific capacity, expertise and experience to organize and supervise a mosquito/WNV surveillance program in the Region of Peloponnese. Up to 30 CDC light traps and up to 10 sentinel chicken cages will be placed in the Region of Peloponnese targeting locations with a history of WNV activity and with high mosquito breeding potential. There will be approximately 10 sampling events. All field activities necessary for implementation of the surveillance program (trap placement/maintenance, sentinel chicken placement/maintenance, salaries for field personnel, consumables, equipment) will be undertaken by the cooperator. ARS will only provide with guidance during the early stages of the project for the appropriate placement of the traps/sentinel chickens while the collection and shipment of biological material to ARS laboratories will be the responsibility of the cooperator. This project will therefore involve very little investment from EBCL in terms of consumables and the funds will be used to support salaries of skilled personnel for the benefit of ongoing ARS projects. Upon receipt of biological material ARS scientists will: identify mosquitoes using conventional and molecular techniques, pool mosquitoes based on species, date and location of sampling, and screen for West Nile virus using published protocols for virus detection and quantification (Chaskopoulou et al. 2011, Chaskopoulou et al. 2013). In case of a positive sample ARS will notify the cooperator in writting about the exact location of the positive pool and advise for appropriate vector control response. A similar approach will be followed for handling sentinel chicken blood samples which will be screened for WNV antibodies.