Veterinary Importance

Biting midges serve as vectors of more than 35 arboviruses which infect domestic animals (Table I). Only a few of these viruses cause significant clinical disease. Cattle, sheep, and horses usually are the most seriously affected. The majority of these viral agents are members of the Reoviridae and Bunyaviridae, including the pathogens which cause bluetongue disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and African horsesickness. Two other families of viruses with which Cuiicoides species have been implicated as vectors are the Rhabdoviridae and Poxviridae. For most of these viral agents, the principal ceratopogo-nid species involved as vectors remain largely unknown. Other disease agents transmitted by biting midges include blood protozoans of birds, such as Haemoproteus meleagridis in turkeys, Leucocytozoon caulleryi in chickens, and the nematode Onchocerca cervicalis in horses. Biting midges also can cause discomforting sldn reactions in horses known as equine allergic dermatitis.

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