Culicoides biting midges: their role as arbovirus vectors

Annual Review of Entomology
P S MellorM Baylis


Culicoides biting midges are among the most abundant of haematophagous insects, and occur throughout most of the inhabited world. Across this broad range they transmit a great number of assorted pathogens of human, and domestic and wild animals, but it is as vectors of arboviruses, and particularly arboviruses of domestic livestock, that they achieve their prime importance. To date, more than 50 such viruses have been isolated from Culicoides spp. and some of these cause diseases of such international significance that they have been allocated Office International des Epizooties (OIE) List A status. Culicoides are world players in the epidemiology of many important arboviral diseases. In this context this paper deals with those aspects of midge biology facilitating disease transmission, describes the factors controlling insect-virus interactions at the individual insect and population level, and illustrates the far-reaching effects that certain components of climate have upon the midges and, hence, transmission potential.


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