Study Might Link American Robins To West Nile Virus

A recent DNA study of the blood consumed by 300 mosquitoes in Connecticut over the past three years found that 40% fed on American robins, while only 1% fed on American crows, a known host of West Nile virus (WNV). Theodore Andreadis, MS, PhD, from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, led the study.

Some people now wonder if crows are still major factors in WNV transmission. Bob McLean, PhD, of the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colo., says, "Crows play a different role (in WNV transmission) than robins, and they're going to continue to play a role. Before they die (of WNV), crows can circulate huge amounts of virus in their blood and infect many mosquitoes."

Some scientists feel it's too early to prove the robin's place in WNV amplification (whether it'a a good viral host), and that it should be examined more closely.

About the Author

John V. Wood

John V. Wood is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, and now teaches his craft to high school students in North Carolina. Wood has been published in numerous national magazines/newspapersover his career, and published his first book in June 2010. Wood currently lives in Willow Spring, NC.

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