Surveillance study on Culex sp. in Southeast Kansas and prevalence of West Nile Virus in the mosquito population

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Spring 2021


West Nile virus (WNV) is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Kansas and the United States. Culex species mosquitoes are the most common carrier of WNV in the U.S. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announced that Kansas and neighboring states are becoming increasingly hospitable to Culex mosquitoes as average temperatures rise. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80% of people infected with WNV show no symptoms; for the remaining 20%, symptoms can include headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. KDHE reported 600 cases of the worst form of the disease in KS, including 30 deaths (1999-2017). KDHE recently designated different areas of the state at high and moderate risk levels for contracting WNV. Our study is aimed at sampling mosquito populations from landscaped vegetation at residential & commercial properties and wetland habitats in urban and suburban areas of southeast Kansas. The mosquitoes were identified using taxonomic keys and sexed. Total RNA will be extracted and prevalence of WNV will be determined using real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) assays. In addition to the surveillance data available from KDHE, the outcome of this study will provide unique information about viral load in these vectors and host populations and seasonal testing of the mosquito vectors will detect temporal changes in the viral load.


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