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Culicoides vectors of bluetongue virus in Chester Zoo
  1. M. J. Vilar, DVM, PhD1,
  2. H. Guis, DVM, DPhil1,
  3. J. Krzywinski, PhD2,
  4. S. Sanderson, MA VetMB MSc MRCVS3 and
  5. M. Baylis, BA, DPhil1
  1. Liverpool University Climate and Infectious Diseases of Animals (LUCINDA) Group, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Chester High Road, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  2. Vector Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA
  3. Chester Zoo, Caughall Road, Chester CH2 1LH
  1. Correspondence to Professor Baylis, e-mail: matthew.baylis{at}
  • Dr Vilar's present address is Unidad de Epidemiología, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA), Barcelona, Spain

  • Dr Guis's present address is CIRAD, UMR CMAEE, F-34398 Montpellier, France

On four nights in June 2008, light traps were operated for Culicoides biting midges, the vector species for bluetongue virus (BTV), at five sites in Chester Zoo in north-west England. Over 35,000 Culicoides midges, of 25 species, were captured, including high densities inside animal enclosures. Over 94 per cent of all the Culicoides trapped were females of the Obsoletus group, which is implicated as the vector of BTV serotype 8 in northern Europe. The mean catch of this group per trap per night was over 1500, suggesting a potential risk of BTV transmission if the virus is introduced to Chester Zoo in the animals or midges in the summer.

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  • Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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