As part of a comprehensive study on the ecology of arthropod-borne viruses in the Amazon Basin region of Peru, we assayed 539,694 mosquitoes captured in Loreto Department, Peru, for arboviruses. Mosquitoes were captured either by dry ice-baited miniature light traps or with aspirators while mosquitoes were landing on human collectors, identified to species, and later tested on Vero cells for virus. In total, 164 virus isolations were made and included members of the Alphavirus (eastern equine encephalomyelitis, Trocara, Una, Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, and western equine encephalomyelitis viruses), Flavivirus (Ilheus and St. Louis encephalitis), and Orthobunyavirus (Caraparu, Itaqui, Mirim, Murutucu, and Wyeomyia viruses) genera. In addition, several viruses distinct from the above-mentioned genera were identified to the serogroup level. Eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus was associated primarily with Culex pedroi Sirivanakarn & Belkin, whereas Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis virus was associated primarily with Culex gnomatos Sallum, Huchings & Ferreira. Most isolations of Ilheus virus were made from Psorophora ferox (Von Humboldt). Although species of the Culex subgenus Melanoconion accounted for only 45% of the mosquitoes collected, 85% of the virus isolations were made from this subgenus. Knowledge of the viruses that are being transmitted in the Amazon Basin region of Peru will enable the development of more effective diagnostic assays, more efficient and rapid diagnoses of clinical illnesses caused by these pathogens, risk analysis for military/civilian operations, and development of potential disease control measures.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5