Volume 89, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



West Nile virus (WNV) causes sporadic outbreaks of human encephalitis in Phoenix, Arizona. To identify amplifying hosts of WNV in the Phoenix area, we blood-sampled resident birds and measured antibody prevalence following an outbreak in the East Valley of metropolitan Phoenix during summer, 2010. House sparrow (), house finch (), great-tailed grackle (), and mourning dove () accounted for most WNV infections among locally resident birds. These species roost communally after early summer breeding. In September 2010, vector-avian host contact was 3-fold greater at communal bird roosts compared with control sites, as determined by densities of resting mosquitoes with previous vertebrate contact (i.e., blood-engorged or gravid mosquitoes). Because of the low competence of mourning doves, these were considered weak amplifiers but potentially effective free-ranging sentinels. Highly competent sparrows, finches, and grackles were predicted to be key amplifying hosts for WNV in suburban Phoenix.


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  • Received : 29 Jan 2013
  • Accepted : 13 Jun 2013
  • Published online : 04 Sep 2013

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