Submitted to: American Society for Virology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2002
Publication Date: 7/20/2002
Citation: Drolet, B.S. 2002. Culicoides sonorensis as a potential biological vector for vesicular stomatitis virus. American Society for Virology Meeting.
Interpretive Summary: Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) causes an economically important arboviral disease in cattle, horses and swine, yet no insect vector has been established for VSV transmission in the western U.S. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the livestock pest, Culicoides sonorensis, was a possible vector for VSV. Virus was shown to grow in Culicoides-derived cell lines as well as in the insect itself. Specific tissues and organs were found to be positive for virus, suggesting that this insect may play a role in the transmission of VSV to the livestock on which it feeds.
Technical Abstract: Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) causes an economically important arboviral disease in cattle, horses and swine. No insect vector has been established for VSV transmission in the western U.S. The biting midge, Culicoides sonorensis, is a known vector of other arboviruses and is a prevalent livestock pest in the western U.S. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Culicoides may be associated with VSV transmission, in that seasonal epizootics coincide with the insect's seasonal feeding habits and water habitats. Moreover, VSV-positive Culicoides have been isolated near epizootics and colonized Culicoides are susceptible to VSV infection by oral exposure. In vitro, VSV infection studies in Culicoides-derived cell lines resulted in persistent, productive infections without cell lysis. In vivo, orally administered VSV resulted in a non-cytolytic, productive infection of the midgut epithelium and dissemination of the virus to transmission relevant organs, such as the salivary glands and the ovaries. The results of these infection studies suggest that Culicoides sonorensis may serve as a suitable insect vector species for VSV transmission in the western U.S.