F1000Research, Gates Open Research, (3), p. 161, 2019
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Background: Yellow fever outbreaks have re-emerged in Brazil during 2016-18, with mortality rates up to 30%. Although urban transmission has not been reported since 1942, the risk of re-urbanization of yellow fever is significant, as Aedes aegypti is present in most tropical and sub-tropical cities in the World and used to be the main vector in the past. The introgression of Wolbachia bacteria into Ae. aegypti mosquito populations is being trialed in several countries (www.worldmosquito.org)as a biocontrol method against dengue, Zika and chikungunya. Here, we studied the ability of Wolbachia to reduce the transmission potential of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes for yellow fever virus (YFV). Methods: Two recently isolated YFV (primate and human) were used to challenge field-derived wild-type and Wolbachia-infected (wMel +) Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. The YFV infection status was followed for 7, 14 and 21 days post-oral feeding (dpf). The YFV transmission potential of mosquitoes was evaluated via nano-injection of saliva into uninfected mosquitoes or by inoculation in mice. Results: We found that Wolbachia was able to significantly reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes with YFV infected heads and thoraces for both viral isolates. Furthermore, analyses of mosquito saliva, through indirect injection into naïve mosquitoes or via interferon-deficient mouse model, indicated Wolbachia was associated with profound reduction in the YFV transmission potential of mosquitoes (14dpf). Conclusions: Our results suggest that Wolbachia introgression could be used as a complementary strategy for prevention of urban yellow fever transmission, along with the human vaccination program.