BACKGROUND: Dengue viruses (DENV) can be transmitted from an adult female Aedes aegypti mosquito through the germ line to the progeny; however, there is uncertainty if this occurs at a frequency that is epidemiologically significant. We measured vertical transmission of DENV from field-reared Ae. aegypti to their F1 progeny after feeding upon blood from dengue patients. We also examined the transmission potential of F1 females. METHODS: We examined the frequency of vertical transmission in field-reared mosquitoes, who fed upon blood from acutely viremic dengue patients, and the capacity for vertically infected females to subsequently transmit virus horizontally, in two sets of experiments: (i) compared vertical transmission frequency of field-reared Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, in individual progeny; and (ii) in pooled progeny derived from field- and laboratory-reared Ae. aegypti. RESULTS: Of 41 DENV-infected and isofemaled females who laid eggs, only a single female (2.43%) transmitted virus to one of the F1 progeny, but this F1 female did not have detectable virus in the saliva when 14 days-old. We complemented this initial study by testing for vertical transmission in another 460 field-reared females and > 900 laboratory-reared counterparts but failed to provide any further evidence of vertical virus transmission. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, these results using field-reared mosquitoes and viremic blood from dengue cases suggest that vertical transmission is uncommon. Field-based studies that build on these observations are needed to better define the contribution of vertical DENV transmission to dengue epidemiology.
Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Dengue virus (DENV), Mosquitoes, Vertical transmission