The prevalence of Culicoides spp. in 3 geographic areas of South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    The seasonal abundance of Culicoides midges, the vector of Bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses (BTV/AHSV) and the presence of viruses in midges were determined in 3 geographic areas in South Africa. In the Onderstepoort area, more than 500,000 Culicoides midges belonging to 27 species were collected. Eighteen midge species were collected throughout Winter and the presence of AHSV and BTV RNA in midges was detected using real time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The nucleic acid of AHSV was found in 12 pools out of total pools of 35 Culicoides. Twenty‑five Culicoides species were detected in the Mnisi area. The RNA of BTV was detected in 75.9% of the midge pools collected during Winter and 51.2% of those collected during Autumn. Antibodies for BTV were detected in 95% of cattle sampled using a competitive enzyme‑linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA). The dominant species in these 2 areas was Culicoides imicola. Eight Culicoides species were collected in Namaqualand. Culicoides imicola represented the 0.9% and Culicoides bolitinos the 1.5% of total catches, respectively. Antibodies for AHSV were detected in 4.4% of 874 equines tested using an indirect ELISA. Results showed that transmission of AHSV and BTV can carry on throughout Winter and the outbreak may begin as soon as Culicoides populations reach a certain critical level.