Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne, zoonotic phlebovirus-causing disease in domestic ruminants and humans in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and some Indian Ocean islands. Outbreaks, characterized by abortion storms and a high morbidity rate in newborn animals, occur after heavy and prolonged rainfalls favouring the breeding of mosquitoes. However, the identity of the important mosquito vectors of RVFV is poorly known in most areas. Mosquitoes collected in the Ndumo area of tropical north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, were tested for RVFV nucleic acid using RT-PCR. The virus was detected in a single pool of unfed Aedes (Aedimorphus) durbanensis, indicating that this seasonally abundant mosquito species could serve as a vector in this area of endemic RVFV circulation. Phylogenetic analysis indicated the identified virus is closely related to two isolates from the earliest outbreaks, which occurred in central South Africa more than 60 years ago, indicating long-term endemicity in the region. Further research is required to understand the eco-epidemiology of RVFV and the vectors responsible for its circulation in the eastern tropical coastal region of southern Africa.
- Aedes (Aedimorphus) durbanensis
- Mosquito vector
- Rift Valley fever virus