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Why and how do we conduct pathogen testing?

Regular pathogen testing is important for detecting the presence of pathogens in the mosquito population before it can be transmitted to humans. Testing results allow us to implement control measures in a timely manner to control the further spread of pathogens among mosquito populations as well.  Presently, we test for the presence of encephalitis viruses (West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, and Western equine encephalitis virus) in Culex mosquitoes, and, starting in 2021, we will test Aedes mosquitoes for dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses.

We send pools of female mosquitoes collected from various field locations (batches of 10 to 50 per site) to the California state monitoring lab (University of California, Davis) for molecular testing.