Vector Potential of Mosquito Species (Diptera: Culicidae) Occurring in Central Europe
After the eradication of endemic malaria in the mid-twentieth century, research on native mosquito species was neglected in Europe for decades. With no evidence for the transmission of life-threatening pathogens, mosquitoes were not considered important vectors anymore. Public, political and scientific interest in them as vectors of disease agents has only increased again with the advent of invasive species and putatively exotic pathogens such as dengue and chikungunya viruses, as a consequence of continuing globalisation. While there is quite useful data on the vector competences of invasive mosquito species, which—due to their involvement in the transmission of disease agents in other parts of the world—had been in the focus of research already before their introduction into Europe, little knowledge exists on the vector potentials of indigenous mosquito species other than Anopheles species able to transmit malaria parasites. Only recently, the screening of field-collected mosquitoes for pathogens has been intensified in Europe, but findings usually remained unclear regarding whether the pathogens had just been ingested during blood-feeding or had really been able to infect their insect host and continue their developmental cycle in order to be transmitted during the next blood meal. Likewise, studies are largely lacking investigating the transmission of pathogens, either endemic or exotic, by European mosquito species in the laboratory, which is the ultimate proof of their vector competence. The present contribution compiles literature data on demonstrations of pathogens in field-collected specimens of mosquito species occurring in Central Europe, although not necessarily collected in Central Europe, as well as of laboratory infection studies with mosquito species occurring in Central Europe. The literature overview shows that mosquito vector research on indigenous species has to be further intensified in order to prepare well-founded risk assessments of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases of humans and animals in Central Europe.