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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Forest Disturbance on La Crosse Virus Risk in Southwestern Virginia

1
Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
2
New York State Department of Health, Slingerlands, NY 12159, USA
3
Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11010028
Received: 13 December 2019 / Accepted: 24 December 2019 / Published: 30 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vector Biology and Ecology)
Forest disturbance effects on La Crosse virus (LACV) are currently unknown. We determined the abundance of three LACV accessory vectors (Aedes albopictus, Ae. canadensis, and Ae. vexans) and the primary amplifying host (Eastern chipmunk; Tamias striatus), and tested for LACV prevalence in both vectors and chipmunks, across a gradient of experimental forest disturbance treatments in southwest Virginia. Forest disturbance significantly affected the abundance of LACV accessory vectors, with a higher abundance on disturbed sites for Ae. canadensis and Ae. vexans. However, there was no significant disturbance effect on chipmunk abundance. Forest disturbance significantly affected LACV prevalence in mosquito vectors, with most (80%) detections on unlogged control sites, which past work showed harbor the highest abundance of the two most common LACV vectors (the primary vector Aedes triseriatus, and Ae. japonicus). Interestingly, LACV nucleic acid was only detected in Ae. japonicus and Culex pipiens/restuans, with no detections in the primary vector, Ae. triseriatus. In contrast to the vector results, antibodies were only found in chipmunks on logged sites, but this result was not statistically significant. Overall, our results suggest that human LACV risk should generally decline with logging, and reveal the potential importance of accessory vectors in LACV maintenance in Appalachian forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: La Crosse virus; mosquito; chipmunk; invasive species; accessory vectors La Crosse virus; mosquito; chipmunk; invasive species; accessory vectors
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hopkins, M.C.; Zink, S.D.; Paulson, S.L.; Hawley, D.M. Influence of Forest Disturbance on La Crosse Virus Risk in Southwestern Virginia. Insects 2020, 11, 28.

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