pp 1–8 | Cite as

Insights into the Host Specificity of Mosquito-Borne Flaviviruses Infecting Wild Mammals

  • Jesús Sotomayor-Bonilla
  • María José Tolsá-GarcíaEmail author
  • Gabriel E. García-Peña
  • Diego Santiago-Alarcon
  • Hugo Mendoza
  • Paulina Alvarez-Mendizabal
  • Oscar Rico-Chávez
  • Rosa Elena Sarmiento-Silva
  • Gerardo Suzán
Original Contribution


Mosquito-borne flaviviruses (MBFVs) are of public and animal health concern because they cause millions of human deaths annually and impact domestic animals and wildlife globally. MBFVs are phylogenetically divided into two clades, one is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes (Ae-MBFVs) associated with mammals and the other by Culex mosquitoes (Cx-MBFVs) associated with birds. However, this assumption has not been evaluated. Here, we synthesized 79 published reports of MBFVs from wild mammals, estimating their host. Then, we tested whether the host specificity was biased to sampling and investigation efforts or to phylogenetic relationships using a viral phylogenetic tree drawn from analyzing whole flavivirus genomes obtained in GenBank. We found in total 18 flaviviruses, nine related to Aedes spp. and nine to Culex spp. infecting 129 mammal species. Thus, this supports that vectors are transmitting MBFV across available host clades and that ornithophilic mosquitoes are readily infecting mammals. Although most of the mosquito species are generalists in their host-feeding preferences, we also found a certain degree of MBFV’s specificity, as most of them infect closely related mammal species. The present study integrates knowledge regarding MBFVs, and it may help to understand their transmission dynamics between viruses, vectors, and mammal hosts.


Mammals Flaviviridae Mosquitoes Virus–host association West Nile virus Dengue 



We acknowledge the Posgrado en Ciencias de la Producción y Salud Animal, UNAM, PAPIIT Project IN221715, and CONACYT PhD grant for JSB.


This study was funded by the CONACYT PhD grant for JSB.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no competing interests.

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús Sotomayor-Bonilla
    • 1
    • 2
  • María José Tolsá-García
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gabriel E. García-Peña
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Diego Santiago-Alarcon
    • 4
  • Hugo Mendoza
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paulina Alvarez-Mendizabal
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oscar Rico-Chávez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rosa Elena Sarmiento-Silva
    • 5
  • Gerardo Suzán
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología de Enfermedades y Una Salud, Departamento de Etología, Fauna Silvestre y Animales de Laboratorio, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y ZootecniaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  2. 2.Asociación Mexicana de Medicina de la Conservación Kalaan Kab ACCiudad de MexicoMexico
  3. 3.Centro de Ciencias de la ComplejidadUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico
  4. 4.Red de Biología y Conservación de VertebradosInstituto de Ecología ACXalapaMexico
  5. 5.Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y ZootecniaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad de MéxicoMexico

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