Vertical transmission, or pathogen transfer from female to offspring, can facilitate the persistence of emerging arboviruses, such as Zika virus (ZIKV), through periods of low horizontal transmission or adverse environmental conditions. We aimed at determining the rate of vertical transmission for ZIKV in its principal vector, Aedes aegypti, and the vector competence of vertically infected progeny. Aedes aegypti females that consumed a blood meal provisioned with ZIKV were maintained under three temperature conditions (27°C, 30°C, and 33°C) following the infectious blood meal and allowed to complete three reproductive cycles. The overall vertical transmission rate was 6.5% (95% CI = 3.9-9.9). Vertical transmission of ZIKV was observed across all temperature conditions and virus detected in adult progeny up to 2 weeks postemergence. In total, 3.4% (95% CI = 1.6-6.2) of adult progeny produced saliva with ZIKV, indicating their vector competence. These results suggest the virus may be maintained in Ae. aegypti populations without a vertebrate host for short periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases