Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

West Nile virus spreading due to mosquitoes in orchards and vineyards, experts warn

Date:
January 30, 2013
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Researchers have linked orchards and vineyards with a greater prevalence of West Nile virus in mosquitoes and the insects' ability to spread the virus to birds, horses and people. The finding is the most finely scaled look at the interplay between land use and with the virus's activity in key hosts.

WSU entomologist David Crowder.
Credit: Image courtesy of Washington State University

Washington State University researchers have linked orchards and vineyards with a greater prevalence of West Nile virus in mosquitoes and the insects' ability to spread the virus to birds, horses and people.

The finding, reported in the latest issue of the journal PLOS ONE, is the most finely scaled look at the interplay between land use and the virus's activity in key hosts. By giving a more detailed description of how the disease moves across the landscape, the study opens the door to management efforts that might bring the disease under control, says David Crowder, a WSU entomologist and the paper's lead author.

Since it was first seen in New York in 1999, West Nile virus has reached across the country and shown few signs of abating. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had the highest number of reported cases -- 5,387, including 243 deaths -- since 2003.

Roughly one in five infected people experience a fever, headache, body aches and, in some cases, a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. One in 150 people can get a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation and neurological problems.

Most efforts to figure out the ecological workings of the virus have focused on reports of infected people, "a crude indicator at best," says Crowder. Almost all victims have no symptoms or are misdiagnosed, while others can be infected far from where they file a report, he says.

Agricultural areas have seen higher percentages of infected people, but that still does not get at the underlying mechanism.

"Is that because there are more birds there?" says Crowder. "Is that because there are more mosquitoes there? That hasn't really been linked together."

Crowder, working with fellow entomologist Jeb Owen, other WSU colleagues and the state Department of Health, merged data from a variety of sources, including West Nile infections in humans, horses and birds, surveys of virus-bearing mosquitoes, breeding bird surveys, and detailed land use maps and climate data from around the Northwest.

The researchers found that habitats with high instances of the disease in horses and birds also have significantly more mosquitoes -- as well as American robins and house sparrows, the two bird species implicated the most in the disease's transmission.

"These same habitats are also resulting in much higher rates of infection within mosquitoes themselves," said Crowder.

"We find that all three of these things -- abundances of house sparrows and American robins, abundance of mosquitoes and the actual prevalence of West Nile in mosquitoes -- are increasing in landscapes with a higher proportion of land in orchard habitats." These habitats, says Crowder, include both orchards and vineyards.

It's still unclear why the habitats would create such a perfect storm for the virus. The researchers speculate that mosquitoes are drawn to orchards for plant nectar during flowering, while robins and house sparrows use them for nesting and feeding. Together, the insects and birds become focal points for the disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Eric Sorensen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David W. Crowder, Elizabeth A. Dykstra, Jo Marie Brauner, Anne Duffy, Caitlin Reed, Emily Martin, Wade Peterson, Yves Carriθre, Pierre Dutilleul, Jeb P. Owen. West Nile Virus Prevalence across Landscapes Is Mediated by Local Effects of Agriculture on Vector and Host Communities. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (1): e55006 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055006

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "West Nile virus spreading due to mosquitoes in orchards and vineyards, experts warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184318.htm>.
Washington State University. (2013, January 30). West Nile virus spreading due to mosquitoes in orchards and vineyards, experts warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184318.htm
Washington State University. "West Nile virus spreading due to mosquitoes in orchards and vineyards, experts warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130184318.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) — A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. 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