Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mosquitoes -- not birds -- may have carried West Nile virus across U.S.

Date:
March 2, 2010
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Mosquitoes -- not birds as suspected-- -- may have a played a primary role in spreading West Nile virus westward across the United States, according to new research. The study is among the first to examine the role of mosquitoes in the dispersion of West Nile virus across the U.S.

Mosquitoes -- not birds as suspected -- may have a played a primary role in spreading West Nile virus westward across the United States, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study is among the first to examine the role of mosquitoes in the dispersion of West Nile virus across the U.S. and is published in the March 2 edition of Molecular Ecology.

Related Articles


West Nile virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999 in New York. Between 2001 and 2004, the virus spread rapidly across the U.S., making a large jump across the Mississippi River and into the Great Plains between 2001 and 2002. Birds are known hosts of the disease and have long been suspected of transporting the virus across the continent. They can transmit the virus to certain mosquitoes, like Culex tarsalis, which then can pass on the disease to humans through their bites.

"In the past, people assumed that birds played the primary role in the spread of West Nile. However, the rapid spread of West Nile did not follow a leap-frog pattern or move north to south along migratory bird routes like we would expect," said senior author Jason L. Rasgon, PhD, assistant professor with Bloomberg School's Malaria Research Institute and the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. "When you see such rapid movement, one of the main questions we ask is: 'What are the factors that mediated this jump?' Our study shows mosquitoes are a likely candidate."

For the study, Rasgon and his co-author, Meera Venkatesan, a former graduate student with the Bloomberg School and current postdoctoral researcher with the Center for Vaccine Development and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, analyzed DNA from mosquitoes collected from 20 sites across the western U.S. Genetic analysis detected three distinct clusters of C. tarsalis populations. They found extensive gene flow between the populations, which indicated widespread movement by the mosquitoes. However, gene flow was limited in certain regions, such as Arizona's Sonoran desert, the eastern Rocky Mountains and the High Plains plateau, all three of which appear to have blocked mosquito movement. The researchers also found that the pattern of genetic clustering was congruent with the pattern of West Nile virus infection across the U.S.

"People have this idea that mosquitoes don't move very far. For certain mosquitoes that is true. But the range of this particular mosquito is as great as the range of the birds that were originally thought to move the virus," Rasgon said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Mosquitoes -- not birds -- may have carried West Nile virus across U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301193011.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2010, March 2). Mosquitoes -- not birds -- may have carried West Nile virus across U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301193011.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Mosquitoes -- not birds -- may have carried West Nile virus across U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301193011.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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