Stability and detection of nucleic acid from viruses and hosts in controlled mosquito blood meals
Monitoring the presence and spread of pathogens in the environment is of critical importance. Rapid detection of infectious disease outbreaks and prediction of their spread can facilitate early responses of health agencies and reduce the severity of outbreaks. Current sampling methods are sorely limited by available personnel and throughput. For instance, xenosurveillance utilizes captured arthropod vectors, such as mosquitoes, as sampling tools to access blood from a wide variety of vertebrate hosts. Next generation sequencing (NGS) of nucleic acid from individual blooded mosquitoes can be used to identify mosquito and host species, and microorganisms including pathogens circulating within either host. However, there are practical challenges to collecting and processing mosquitoes for xenosurveillance, such as the rapid metabolization or decay of microorganisms within the mosquito midgut. This particularly affects pathogens that do not replicate in mosquitoes, preventing their detection by NGS or other methods. Accordingly, we performed a series of experiments to establish the windows of detection for DNA or RNA from human blood and/or viruses present in mosquito blood meals. Our results will contribute to the development of xenosurveillance techniques with respect to optimal timing of sample collection and NGS processing and will also aid trap design by demonstrating the stabilizing effect of temperature control on viral genome recovery from blood-fed mosquitoes.