Continued evolution of West Nile virus, Houston, Texas, USA, 2002-2012

Brian R. Mann, Allison R. McMullen, Daniele M. Swetnam, Vence Salvato, Martin Reyna, Hilda Guzman, Rudy Bueno, James A. Dennett, Robert B. Tesh, Alan D.T. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We investigated the genetics and evolution of West Nile virus (WNV) since initial detection in the United States in 1999 on the basis of continual surveillance studies in the Houston, Texas, USA, metropolitan area (Harris County) as a surrogate model for WNV evolution on a national scale. Full-length genomic sequencing of 14 novel 2010-2012 WNV isolates collected from resident birds in Harris County demonstrates emergence of 4 independent genetic groups distinct from historical strains circulating in the greater Houston region since 2002. Phylogenetic and geospatial analyses of the 2012 WNV isolates indicate closer genetic relationship with 2003-2006 Harris County isolates than more recent 2007-2011 isolates. Inferred monophyletic relationships of these groups with several 2006-2009 northeastern US isolates supports potential introduction of a novel WNV strain in Texas since 2010. These results emphasize the need to maintain WNV surveillance activities to better understand WNV transmission dynamics in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1418-1427
Number of pages10
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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