Terrestrial bird migration and west nile virus circulation, United States

Daniele Swetnam, Steven G. Widen, Thomas G. Wood, Martin Reyna, Lauren Wilkerson, Mustapha Debboun, Dreda A. Symonds, Daniel G. Mead, Barry J. Beaty, Hilda Guzman, Robert Tesh, Alan D.T. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Host migration and emerging pathogens are strongly associated, especially with regard to zoonotic diseases. West Nile virus (WNV), a mosquitoborne pathogen capable of causing severe, sometimes fatal, neuroinvasive disease in humans, is maintained in highly mobile avian hosts. Using phylogeographic approaches, we investigated the relationship between WNV circulation in the United States and the flight paths of terrestrial birds. We demonstrated southward migration of WNV in the eastern flyway and northward migration in the central flyway, which is consistent with the looped flight paths of many terrestrial birds. We also identified 3 optimal locations for targeted WNV surveillance campaigns in the United States—Illinois, New York, and Texas. These results illustrate the value of multidisciplinary approaches to surveillance of infectious diseases, especially zoonotic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2184-2194
Number of pages11
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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