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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 389; doi:10.3390/ijerph15020389

The Role of Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae) in Virus Transmission in Europe

Evolution Biotechnologies, Colworth Science Park, Sharnbrook, Bedford MK44 1LZ, UK
Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Animal and Plant Health Agency, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, UK
Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging Infections & Zoonoses, Porton Down, Salisbury SP4 0JG, UK
Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7BE, UK
The Pirbright Institute, Ash Road, Woking, Surrey GU24 0NF, UK
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 February 2018 / Published: 23 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Research, Management and Response)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1814 KB, uploaded 25 February 2018]   |  


Over the past three decades, a range of mosquito-borne viruses that threaten public and veterinary health have emerged or re-emerged in Europe. Mosquito surveillance activities have highlighted the Culex pipiens species complex as being critical for the maintenance of a number of these viruses. This species complex contains morphologically similar forms that exhibit variation in phenotypes that can influence the probability of virus transmission. Critical amongst these is the choice of host on which to feed, with different forms showing different feeding preferences. This influences the ability of the mosquito to vector viruses and facilitate transmission of viruses to humans and domestic animals. Biases towards blood-feeding on avian or mammalian hosts have been demonstrated for different Cx. pipiens ecoforms and emerging evidence of hybrid populations across Europe adds another level of complexity to virus transmission. A range of molecular methods based on DNA have been developed to enable discrimination between morphologically indistinguishable forms, although this remains an active area of research. This review provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the understanding of the ecology, behaviour and genetics of Cx. pipiens in Europe, and how this influences arbovirus transmission. View Full-Text
Keywords: Culex pipiens; West Nile virus; transmission; molestus; arbovirus; host preference Culex pipiens; West Nile virus; transmission; molestus; arbovirus; host preference

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brugman, V.A.; Hernández-Triana, L.M.; Medlock, J.M.; Fooks, A.R.; Carpenter, S.; Johnson, N. The Role of Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae) in Virus Transmission in Europe. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 389.

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