Vector Competence of Aedes albopictus Populations from the Northeastern United States for Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika Viruses


The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is an important vector of a number of arboviruses, including Zika (ZIKV), dengue (DENV), and chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses, and has recently expanded its range in the eastern United States to southern New England and New York. Given the recent establishment and proliferation of Ae. albopictus in this region and the increasing amount of international travel between the United States and endemic countries, there is a need to elucidate the public health risk posed by this mosquito species in the Northeast. Accordingly, we evaluated the competence of four Ae. albopictus populations from Connecticut and New York, for two strains each of ZIKV, DENV serotype 2 (DENV-2), and CHIKV, currently circulating in the Americas, to evaluate the local transmission risk by this vector. We found that local Ae. albopictus populations are susceptible to infection by all three viruses but are most capable of transmitting CHIKV. Variation in competence was observed for ZIKV and CHIKV, driven by the virus strains and mosquito population, whereas competence was more homogeneous for the DENV-2 strains under evaluation. These results suggest that under optimal circumstances, Ae. albopictus could support localized transmission of these viruses and emphasize the importance of maintaining mosquito surveillance and control programs to suppress Ae. albopictus populations and limit further range expansion of this species.