Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus

Date:
June 26, 2008
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
A biologist and undergraduate student have discovered that what's good for an area's bird population is also good for people living nearby.

A biologist and undergraduate student have discovered that what's good for an area's bird population is also good for people living nearby.

Related Articles


The research, by John P. Swaddle and Stavros E. Calos, published June 25 in the online peer-reviewed journal PLoS One, indicates that areas which have a more diverse bird population (biodiversity) show much lower incidences of West Nile virus infection in the human population. West Nile develops rapidly in bird populations, and then can be passed to humans or other animals through a vector mechanism, often a mosquito.

Swaddle completed the work while a Sabbatical Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. NCEAS supports integrative research that synthesizes existing data, and makes these data and inferences available for management and policy applications.

Swaddle and Calos's research constitutes the largest-scale application to date of the "dilution effect", a pattern whereby increased biodiversity in wildlife results in lower risks of humans becoming infected by animal diseases. The dilution effect was first reported in Lyme disease, but Swaddle and Calos are the first to demonstrate the dilution effect in a disease that has bird hosts. Other infectious diseases of concern, such as avian flu and bubonic plague, Swaddle said, may fit the dilution effect as well.

"We don't yet know the precise mechanism that drives this pattern, but it's likely to be due to diverse areas having relatively few of the bird species that are particularly competent hosts and reservoirs for the virus," Swaddle said.

Host competence, he explains, refers to a set of qualities that make a particular species of bird best able to contract the disease and pass it on through a vector. The highest levels of host competence are found in crows, jays, thrushes and sparrows-the very birds that tend to thrive when avian biodiversity is reduced.

Swaddle, back in residence as associate professor at the College or William and Mary, points out some implications of his research. Very small changes in land management, he said, could attract more bird species, with the increase in biodiversity paying off in the form of lower human infection rates during outbreaks of West Nile or other diseases in the bird population.

"Biodiversity is giving us a public health service that people have rarely considered and the value of this service should be considered when developing land and managing bird populations in the future," Swaddle said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2008, June 26). Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Diversity Among Bird Populations Found To Reduce Threat Of West Nile Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625073801.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2015) — The use of complex tools has often been seen as a defining characteristic of humanity, but that notion is now in question. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) — Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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