Methods in Molecular Biology Volume 630, 2010, pp 109-124
Date: 10 Feb 2010

Detection of West Nile Viral RNA from Field-Collected Mosquitoes in Tropical Regions by Conventional and Real-Time RT-PCR

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West Nile virus (WNV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus, which has rapidly spread and is currently widely distributed. Therefore, efforts for WNV early detection and ecological surveillance of this disease agent have been increased around the world. Although virus isolation is known to be the standard method for detection and identification of viruses, the use of RT-PCR assays as routine laboratory tests provides a rapid alterative suitable for the detection of viral RNA on field-collected samples. A method for WNV RNA genome detection in field-collected mosquitoes is presented in this chapter. This method has been designed for virus surveillance in tropical regions endemic for other flaviviruses. Reverse Transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) assays, both standard and real time, to detect WNV and other flaviviruses are described. A first screening for flavivirus RNA detection is performed using a conventional RT-PCR with two different sets of flavivirus consensus primers. Mosquito samples are then tested for WNV RNA by a real-time (TaqMan) RT-PCR assay. Sample preparation and RNA extraction procedures are also described.