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Isolation of Buggy Creek Virus (Togaviridae: Alphavirus) From Field-Collected Eggs of Oeciacus vicarius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae)

Brown, Charles R., Moore, Amy T., Young, Ginger R., Padhi, Abinash, Komar, Nicholas
Journal of medical entomology 2009 v.46 no.2 pp. 375-379
Oeciacus vicarius, ova, Alphavirus, isolation, disease prevalence, virus transmission, insect vectors, ectoparasites, Petrochelidon, birds, Nebraska
Alphaviruses (Togaviridae) rarely have been found to be vertically transmitted from female arthropods to their progeny. We report two isolations of Buggy Creek virus (BCRV), an ecologically unusual alphavirus related to western equine encephalomyelitis virus, from field-collected eggs of cimicid swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius Horvath), the principal vector for BCRV. Ten percent of egg pools were positive for BCRV, and we estimated minimum infection rates to be 1.03 infected eggs per 1,000 tested. The results show potential vertical transmission of BCRV, represent one of the few isolations of any alphavirus from eggs or larvae of insects in the field, and are the first report of any virus in the eggs of cimicid bedbugs. The specialized ecological niche of BCRV in swallow bugs and at cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota Vieillot) nesting sites may promote vertical transmission of this virus.