Each spring large numbers of neotropical migrants traversing the Pacific flyway pass through the Coachella Valley enroute to northern destinations, providing an opportunity to test the hypothesis that mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses are introduced annually into California by migratory birds. A total of 5,632 sera were collected from 43 species of migrants during spring (April-June), of which 34 (0.61%) comprised of 14 species tested positive by enzyme immunoassay; only 10 were confirmed by plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT). In addition, of 1,109 migrants comprised of 76 species that were reported dead by the public and necropsied, 126 (11%) were positive for West Nile virus (WNV) RNA; however, only three (0.7%) of 428 birds tested during the spring were positive. Limited experimental infection studies with WNV showed that Orange-crowned Warblers were highly susceptible and frequently died, whereas most Yellow Warblers survived. Our results indicated that birds entering California rarely exhibited a history of infection and that most birds probably became infected after entering California.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases