Alphaviruses Detected in Mosquitoes in the North-Eastern Regions of South Africa, 2014 to 2018


The prevalence and distribution of African alphaviruses such as chikungunya have increased in recent years. Therefore, a better understanding of the local distribution of alphaviruses in vectors across the African continent is important. Here, entomological surveillance was performed from 2014 to 2018 at selected sites in north-eastern parts of South Africa where alphaviruses have been identified during outbreaks in humans and animals in the past. Mosquitoes were collected using a net, CDC-light, and BG-traps. An alphavirus genus-specific nested RT-PCR was used for screening, and positive pools were confirmed by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. We collected 64,603 mosquitoes from 11 genera, of which 39,035 females were tested. Overall, 1462 mosquito pools were tested, of which 21 were positive for alphaviruses. Sindbis (61.9%, N = 13) and Middelburg (28.6%, N = 6) viruses were the most prevalent. Ndumu virus was detected in two pools (9.5%, N = 2). No chikungunya positive pools were identified. Arboviral activity was concentrated in peri-urban, rural, and conservation areas. A range of Culicidae species, including Culex univittatus, Cx. pipiens s.l., Aedes durbanensis, and the Ae. dentatus group, were identified as potential vectors. These findings confirm the active circulation and distribution of alphaviruses in regions where human or animal infections were identified in South Africa.publishersversionpublishe

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