Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

West Nile Virus May Be New Deadly Strain, USGS Tells Congress

Date:
December 15, 1999
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
Recent crow die-offs suggest the West Nile virus which emerged in New York in late August could be more deadly to North American bird species than to species in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, where the virus is normally found, a USGS scientist reported today at a congressional field hearing held in Connecticut by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Recent crow die-offs suggest the West Nile virus which emerged in New York in late August could be more deadly to North American bird species than to species in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, where the virus is normally found, a USGS scientist reported today at a congressional field hearing held in Connecticut by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Dr. Robert G. McLean, director of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., briefed the committee on the role of native bird populations and other wildlife in the emergence of West Nile virus in the United States. Detection of the virus in birds and other animal species provides critical information to public health agencies tracking the infection in people.

"The high mortality in crows and other bird species is unusual for these viruses," McLean said. "This suggests that this virus is more virulent to our native birds or it may represent a new, more virulent strain of the virus."

Resident and migratory birds may play an important role in natural transmission of the virus and in maintaining the virus in the United States, McLean testified. "Migratory birds could also spread the virus to other states outside of the New York City area," he said. "Enhanced monitoring through surveillance for early, rapid detection of West Nile virus in states outside the affected area will be important to guide prevention measures."

The emergence of West Nile virus in the United States, which led to the deaths of seven people from West Nile encephalitis, has brought together the combined expertise and resources of many federal and state agencies along the eastern seaboard. Several federal and state agencies and private groups are searching for stored human and animal specimens that were collected prior to 1999 in order to test them for the presence of West Nile virus. These specimens are also being tested for antibodies to determine if the virus was present in the United States before the 1999 outbreak. Results from these investigations should provide more insight into how, where and when the virus was introduced, McLean noted.

McLean, who received his Ph.D. at Penn State University in 1966, and has 30 years of experience with wildlife diseases, also discussed the activities and efforts of the USGS in investigating the wildlife aspects of this virus. "As of early November, 392 birds have been tested by USGS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 192 were positive for West Nile virus," McLean said. "The virus has infected at least 20 species of birds, including exotic and native birds at zoos, and about four species of mosquitoes. But, it is difficult to assess how many birds have died from this disease."

USGS, CDC, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies have heightened wildlife surveillance for detection of West Nile virus, and they have expanded monitoring to other Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. McLean assured the committee, "We are continuing to collaborate on enhanced surveillance and to determine what specific surveillance methods will work best for each region."

McLean believes that native bird populations will play a key role in the investigation of the long-term impacts of the West Nile virus in the United States. He added, "Additional research is needed in order to determine if wildlife, mosquito or both populations in the affected areas can maintain the virus in New York and other states and serve as an over wintering source for resurgence next summer."

###For more information on West Nile virus, see the following webpages:

USGS Home Page on West Nile Virushttp://www.usgs.gov/west_nile_virus.html

USGS Fact Sheet on West Nile Virushttp://www.usgs.gov/wnvfactsheet.html

USGS National Wildlife Health Center and related web pageshttp://www.umesc.usgs.gov/nwhchome.htmlhttp://www.umesc.usgs.gov/http_data/nwhc/news/whal9902.html

USGS Biological Resources Page on West Nile Encephalitis http://biology.usgs.gov/mosquito/mosquito.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/arbor/arboinfo.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "West Nile Virus May Be New Deadly Strain, USGS Tells Congress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991215071953.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (1999, December 15). West Nile Virus May Be New Deadly Strain, USGS Tells Congress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991215071953.htm
United States Geological Survey. "West Nile Virus May Be New Deadly Strain, USGS Tells Congress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991215071953.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins