North American Birds as Potential Amplifying Hosts of Japanese Encephalitis Virus

Nicole Nemeth Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Angela Bosco-Lauth Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Paul Oesterle Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Dennis Kohler Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Richard Bowen Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado; United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is an emerging arbovirus, and inter-continental spread is an impending threat. The virus is maintained in a transmission cycle between mosquito vectors and vertebrate hosts, including birds. We detected variation in interspecies responses among North American birds to infection with strains of two different JEV genotypes (I and III). Several native North American passerine species and ring-billed gulls had the highest average peak viremia titers after inoculation with a Vietnamese (genotype I) JEV strain. Oral JEV shedding was minimal and cloacal shedding was rarely detected. The majority of birds, both viremic (72 of 74; 97.3%) and non-viremic (31 of 37; 83.8%), seroconverted by 14 days post-inoculation and West Nile virus-immune individuals had cross-protection against JEV viremia. Reservoir competence and serologic data for a variety of avian taxa are important for development of JEV surveillance and control strategies and will aid in understanding transmission ecology in the event of JEV expansion to North America.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Richard Bowen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: Richard.Bowen@colostate.edu

Financial support: This research was funded by National Institutes of Health, contract N01-AI25489.

Authors' addresses: Nicole Nemeth, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, E-mail: nmnemeth@uga.edu. Angela Bosco-Lauth, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO, E-mail: mopargal@rams.colostate.edu. Paul Oesterle, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, E-mail: poester@uga.edu. Dennis Kohler, USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Disease Program, Fort Collins, CO, E-mail: dennis.kohler@aphis.usda.gov. Richard Bowen, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, E-mail: Richard.Bowen@colostate.edu.

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