Heads of 109,597 mosquitoes collected during 1996 and 1997 from Gainesville, Florida (1996, n = 39,131; 1997, n = 34,209), Bartow, Florida (1996, n = 12,000; 1997, n = 12,000), and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (1996, n = 12,257) were tested by a polymerase chain reaction and Southern hybridization-based test for the presence of third-stage larvae of the canine heartworm Dirofilaria immitis. Mosquito heads were pooled (1–200 heads) by month, locality, and species for testing. The test used was species specific for D. immitis and was capable of detecting DNA from a single larva in a pool of 200 mosquito heads. Specificity for the third larval stage was achieved by probing only mosquito heads. One or more D. immitis-infected mosquito heads were detected in each month of the year from Bartow in both 1996 and 1997. No infected mosquito heads were detected from Gainesville or Baton Rouge in December, January, February, or March. These results are in general agreement with previous sentinel dog and model prediction studies that showed heartworm transmission in the warm temperate Gulf coast region of the United States to be seasonal rather than continuous as previously believed.

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