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Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research

On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
Print version ISSN 0030-2465


SCHEFFER, Elisabeth G. et al. Use of real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for the detection of African horse sickness virus replication in Culicoides imicola . Onderstepoort j. vet. res. [online]. 2011, vol.78, n.1, pp.1-4. ISSN 2219-0635.

Despite its important role as vector for African horse sickness virus (AHSV), very little information is available on the dissemination of this virus in Culicoides (Avaritia) imicola Kieffer (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). This study reports on the applicability of a real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to detect AHSV in dissected midges. A total of 96 midges were fed on AHSV-infected blood, after which one test group was dissected into head/thorax and abdomen segments immediately after feeding and the other only after 10 days of incubation. The majority of the midges (96%) ingested the virus successfully and there was no significant difference between the virus concentration in the heads/thoraxes and the abdomens immediately after feeding. After incubation, virus was detected in 51% of the midges and it was confined to the abdomen in the majority of these. The fact that virus was detected only in the heads/thoraxes of four Culicoides midges after incubation suggests the presence of a mesenteronal escape barrier. Replication in the salivary glands was not shown. An increase of the mean virus concentration in the abdomen after incubation indicates localised viral replication. The real-time RT-qPCR is recommended for further studies investigating the replication and dissemination of AHSV in Culicoides midges.

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