Two different doses of Ross River virus (RR) were fed to Ochlerotatus vigilax (Skuse), the primary coastal vector in Australia; and blood engorged females were held at different temperatures up to 35 d. After ingesting 104.3 CCID50/mosquito, mosquitoes reared at 18 and 25°C (and held at the same temperature) had higher body remnant and head and salivary gland titers than those held at 32°C, although infection rates were comparable. At 18, 25, and 32°C, respectively, virus was first detected in the salivary glands on days 3, 2, and 3. Based on a previously demonstrated 98.7% concordance between salivary gland infection and transmission, the extrinsic incubation periods were estimated as 5, 4, and 3 d, respectively, for these three temperatures. When Oc. vigilax reared at 18, 25, or 32°C were fed a lower dosage of 103.3 CCID50 RR/mosquito, and assayed after 7 d extrinsic incubation at these (or combinations of these) temperatures, infection rates and titers were similar. However, by 14 d, infection rates and titers of those reared and held at 18 and 32°C were significantly higher and lower, respectively. However, this process was reversible when the moderate 25°C was involved, and intermediate infection rates and titers resulted. These data indicate that for the strains of RR and Oc. vigilax used, rearing temperature is unimportant to vector competence in the field, and that ambient temperature variations will modulate or enhance detectable infection rates only after 7 d extrinsic incubation. Because of the short duration of extrinsic incubation, however, this will do little to influence RR epidemiology, because by this time some Oc. vigilax could be seeking their third blood meal, the latter two being infectious.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1