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Identification of Eilat virus and prevalence of infection among Culex pipiens L. populations, Morocco, 2016

Bennouna A., Gil P., El Rhaffouli H., Exbrayat A., Loire E., Balenghien T., Chlyeh G., Gutierrez S., Fassi-Fihri O.. 2019. Virology, 530 : p. 85-88.

DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2019.02.007

Eilat virus (EILV) is described as one of the few alphaviruses restricted to insects. We report the record of a nearly-complete sequence of an alphavirus genome showing 95% identity with EILV during a metagenomic analysis performed on 1488 unblood-fed females and 1076 larvae of the mosquito Culex pipiens captured in Rabat (Morocco). Genetic distance and phylogenetic analyses placed the EILV-Morocco as a variant of EILV. The observed infection rates in both larvae and adults suggested an active circulation of the virus in Rabat and its maintenance in the environment either through vertical transmission or through horizontal infection of larvae in breeding sites. This is the first report of EILV out of Israel and in Culex pipiens populations.

Mots-clés : culex pipiens; alphavirus; phylogénie; distance génétique; maroc; virus eilat; métagénomique

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