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Experimental West Nile Virus Infection in Jungle Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos)

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  • 1 Research Team for Zoonotic Diseases, National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Japan; Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Japan; Epidemiological Research Team, National Institute of Animal Health, Tsukuba, Japan

We experimentally infected jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos), which are representative corvids in East Asia, with West Nile virus (WNV) to study their susceptibility toward WNV infection. Six jungle crows were subcutaneously inoculated with 1,000 plaque-forming units (PFU) of the WNV NY99 strain. Within 7 days after inoculation, five of the six infected crows died, and peak viremias ranged from 106.5 to 1010.9 PFU/mL serum. In addition, infected crows shed WNV in the oral cavity and cloaca, and the virus was widely disseminated in the organs of the crows. Based on these findings, we conclude that jungle crows are highly susceptible to WNV infection, and they could serve as amplifying hosts in the transmission of WNV. Although WNV has not been detected in East Asia, the virus could spread rapidly on introduction into this region because of the large number of potential amplifying hosts and vector mosquitoes that inhabit this region.

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