Surveys for Antibodies Against Mosquitoborne Encephalitis Viruses in California Birds, 1996-2013

William Reisen, Sarah S. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


From 1996 through 2013, 54,546 individual birds comprising 152 species and 7 orders were banded, bled, and released at four study areas within California, from which 28,388 additional serum samples were collected at one or more recapture encounters. Of these, 142, 99, and 1929 birds from 41 species were positive for neutralizing antibodies against western equine encephalomyelitis virus (WEEV), St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV), or West Nile virus (WNV) at initial capture or recapture, respectively. Overall, 83% of the positive serum samples were collected from five species: House Finch, House Sparrow, Mourning Dove, California Quail, and Western Scrub-Jay. Temporal data supported concurrent arbovirus surveillance and documented the disappearance of birds positive for WEEV in 2008 and SLEV in 2003 and the appearance of birds positive for WNV after its invasion in 2003. Results of these serosurveys agreed well with the host selection patterns of the Culex vectors as described from bloodmeal sequencing data and indicated that transmission of WNV seemed most effective within urban areas where avian and mosquito host diversity was limited to relatively few competent species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-282
Number of pages19
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Avian banding
  • Avian serology
  • St. Louis encephalitis virus
  • West Nile virus
  • Western equine encephalomyelitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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