Converting Mosquito Surveillance to Arbovirus Surveillance with Honey-Baited Nucleic Acid Preservation Cards

Emily J. Flies, Cheryl Toi, Philip Weinstein, Stephen L. Doggett, Craig R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Spatially and temporally accurate information about infectious mosquito distribution allows for pre-emptive public health interventions that can reduce the burden of mosquito-borne infections on human populations. However, the labile nature of arboviruses, the low prevalence of infection in mosquitoes, the expensive labor costs for mosquito identification and sorting, and the specialized equipment required for arbovirus testing can obstruct arbovirus surveillance efforts. The recently developed techniques of testing mosquito expectorate using honey-baited nucleic acid preservation cards or sugar bait stations allows a sensitive method of testing for infectious, rather than infected, mosquito vectors. Here we report the results from the first large-scale incorporation of honey-baited cards into an existing mosquito surveillance program. During 4 months of the peak virus season (January-April, 2014) for a total of 577 trap nights, we set CO2-baited encephalitis vector survey (EVS) light traps at 88 locations in South Australia. The collection container for the EVS trap was modified to allow for the placement of a honey-baited nucleic acid preservation card (FTA card) inside. After collection, mosquitoes were maintained in a humid environment and allowed access to the cards for 1 week. Cards were then analyzed for common endemic Australian arboviruses using a nested RT-PCR. Eighteen virus detections, including 11 Ross River virus, four Barmah Forest virus, and three Stratford virus (not previously reported from South Australia) were obtained. Our findings suggest that adding FTA cards to an existing mosquito surveillance program is a rapid and efficient way of detecting infectious mosquitoes with high spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-403
Number of pages7
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbovirus
  • Mosquitoes
  • Saliva
  • Surveillance
  • Transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Microbiology

Cite this