Geographic distribution of the V1016G knockdown resistance mutation in Aedes albopictus: a warning bell for Europe

Verena Pichler, Beniamino Caputo, Vera Valadas, Martina Micocci, Cintia Horvath, Chiara Virgillito, Mustafa Akiner, Georgios Balatsos, Christelle Bender, Gilles Besnard, Daniel Bravo-Barriga, Rubén Bueno-Mari, Francisco Collantes, Sarah Delacour-Estrella, Enkelejda Dikolli, Elena Falcuta, Eleonora Flacio, Ana L. García-Pérez, Katja Kalan, Mihaela KavranGregory L’Ambert, Riccardo P. Lia, Eduardo Marabuto, Raquel Medialdea, Rosario Melero-Alcibar, Antonios Michaelakis, Andrei Mihalca, Ognyan Mikov, Miguel A. Miranda, Pie Müller, Domenico Otranto, Igor Pajovic, Dusan Petric, Maria Teresa Rebelo, Vincent Robert, Elton Rogozi, Ana Tello, Toni Zitko, Francis Schaffner, Joao Pinto, Alessandra della Torre

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Background: Colonization of large part of Europe by the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is causing autochthonous transmission of chikungunya and dengue exotic arboviruses. While pyrethroids are recommended only to reduce/limit transmission, they are widely implemented to reduce biting nuisance and to control agricultural pests, increasing the risk of insurgence of resistance mechanisms. Worryingly, pyrethroid resistance (with mortality < 70%) was recently reported in Ae. albopictus populations from Italy and Spain and associated with the V1016G point mutation in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel gene conferring knockdown resistance (kdr). Genotyping pyrethroid resistance-associated kdr mutations in field mosquito samples represents a powerful approach to detect early signs of resistance without the need for carrying out phenotypic bioassays which require availability of live mosquitoes, dedicated facilities and appropriate expertise. Methods: Here we report results on the PCR-genotyping of the V1016G mutation in 2530 Ae. albopictus specimens from 69 sampling sites in 19 European countries. Results: The mutation was identified in 12 sites from nine countries (with allele frequencies ranging from 1 to 8%), mostly distributed in two geographical clusters. The western cluster includes Mediterranean coastal sites from Italy, France and Malta as well as single sites from both Spain and Switzerland. The eastern cluster includes sites on both sides of the Black Sea in Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia as well as one site from Romania. These results are consistent with genomic data showing high connectivity and close genetic relationship among West European populations and a major barrier to gene flow between West European and Balkan populations. Conclusions: The results of this first effort to map kdr mutations in Ae. albopictus on a continental scale show a widespread presence of the V1016G allele in Europe, although at lower frequencies than those previously reported from Italy. This represents a wake-up call for mosquito surveillance programs in Europe to include PCR-genotyping of pyrethroid resistance alleles, as well as phenotypic resistance assessments, in their routine activities. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number280
JournalParasites & Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Arbovirus vector
  • Europe
  • Insecticide resistance
  • Integrated vector management
  • Kdr
  • Mosquito
  • Vector control


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