#Arboviral #screening of invasive #Aedes species in northeastern #Turkey: #WNV circulation and detection of insect-only viruses (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Arboviral screening of invasive Aedes species in northeastern Turkey: West Nile virus circulation and detection of insect-only viruses

Mustafa M. Akıner, Murat Öztürk, Aykut Buğra Başer, Filiz Günay, Sabri Hacıoğlu, Annika Brinkmann, Nergis Emanet, Bülent Alten, Aykut Özkul, Andreas Nitsche, Yvonne-Marie Linton, Koray Ergünay

Published: May 6, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007334 / This is an uncorrected proof.




The recent reports of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus populations in Turkey, in parallel with the territorial expansion identified in several surrounding countries, have raised concerns about the establishment and re-establishment of these invasive Aedes mosquitoes in Turkey. This cross-sectional study was performed to detect Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus in regions of recent incursions, and screen for viral pathogens known to be transmitted elsewhere by these species.


Mosquitoes were collected at several locations in Artvin, Rize and Trabzon provinces of the Black Sea region during 2016–2017, identified morphologically, pooled and analyzed via generic or specific nucleic acid amplification assays. Viruses in positive pools were identified by product sequencing, cell culture inoculation and next generation sequencing (NGS) in selected specimens.

Principal findings

The study group comprised 791 specimens. Aedes albopictus was the most abundant species in all locations (89.6%), followed by Ae. aegypti (7.8%) and Culex pipiens (2.5%). Mosquitoes were screened for viruses in 65 pools where fifteen (23.1%) were reactive. The infecting strains was identified as West Nile virus (WNV) in 5 pools (7.7%) with Ae. albopictus or Cx. pipiensmosquitoes. The obtained WNV sequences phylogenetically grouped with local and global lineage 1 clade 1a viruses. In 4 (6.2%) and 6 (9.2%) pools, respectively, cell fusing agent virus (CFAV) and Aedes flavivirus (AEFV) sequences were characterized. NGS provided a near-complete AEFV genome in a pool of Ae. albopictus. The strain is provisionally called “AEFV-Turkey”, and functional analysis of the genome revealed several conserved motifs and regions associated with virus replication. Merida-like virus Turkey (MERDLVT), a recently-described novel rhabdovirus, was also co-detected in a Cx. pipiens pool also positive for WNV.


Invasive Aedes mosquitoes are established in certain locations of northeastern Turkey. Herein we conclusively show the role of these species in WNV circulation in the region. Biosurveillance is imperative to monitor the spread of these species further into Asia Minor and to detect possible introduction of pathogens.


Author summary

Mosquitoes can transmit viruses to susceptible humans during blood-feeding. The presence and establishment of particular mosquito species within a region is the prerequisite for the introduction and emergence of the diseases transmitted by that species. Aedes mosquitoes transmit dengue and yellow fever, as well as recently-emergent chikungunya and Zika viruses to susceptible humans. Mosquitoes were collected in the Black Sea region of Anatolia, NE Turkey, where invasive Aedes mosquitoes have recently encroached, and specimens were screened for a variety of viruses. We observed particular Aedes species that are associated with disease transmission, suggesting that these species have been established in the region. We did not detect dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya or Zika viruses, but West Nile virus was found in several pools of these invasive species. Moreover, we detected a number of related viruses that exclusively infect mosquitoes, identified for the first time in Anatolia. Using advanced sequencing technologies, the near-complete genome of a new Aedes flavivirus (AEFV-Turkey) was achieved.


Citation: Akıner MM, Öztürk M, Başer AB, Günay F, Hacıoğlu S, Brinkmann A, et al. (2019) Arboviral screening of invasive Aedes species in northeastern Turkey: West Nile virus circulation and detection of insect-only viruses. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(5): e0007334. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007334

Editor: Pattamaporn Kittayapong, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, THAILAND

Received: January 3, 2019; Accepted: March 26, 2019; Published: May 6, 2019

This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Data Availability: The nucleotide sequences characterized in this study are deposited and can be accessed at the GenBank via the following accession numbers: MF361262, MF361264, MF361265, MF361263, MF361267, MF361268, MK251047, MK251048, MK251049, MK251050, MK251051, MK251052, MK251053, MK251054, MK251055 and MK251056. All remaining data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This study was supported in part by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Board, Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSB-GEIS), United States of America (FY18 award P0034_18_WR (PI: Yvonne-Marie Linton) under US Army subcontract W911QY-16-C-0160). BA and FG were also included in AIM-COST. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The material to be published reflects the views of the authors and should not be construed to represent those of the US Department of the Army or the US Department of Defense.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Flavivirus; Rhabdovirus; Mosquitoes; WNV; Aedes albopictus; Culex spp.; Turkey; Merida-like Turkey virus.


Published by

Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.