Avian diversity and West Nile virus: Testing associations between biodiversity and infectious disease risk

  • Ezenwa V
  • Godsey M
  • King R
 et al. 
  • 21

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 156

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

The emergence of several high profile infectious diseases in recent years has focused attention on our need to understand the ecological factors contributing to the spread of infectious diseases. West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease that was first detected in the United States in 1999. The factors accounting for variation in the prevalence of WNV are poorly understood, but recent ideas suggesting links between high biodiversity and reduced vector-borne disease risk may help account for distribution patterns of this disease. Since wild birds are the primary reservoir hosts for WNV, we tested associations between passerine (Passeriform) bird diversity, non-passerine (all other orders) bird diversity and virus infection rates in mosquitoes and humans to examine the extent to which bird diversity is associated with WNV infection risk. We found that non-passerine species richness (number of non-passerine species) was significantly negatively correlated with both mosquito and human infection rates, whereas there was no significant association between passerine species richness and any measure of infection risk. Our findings suggest that non-passerine diversity may play a role in dampening WNV amplification rates in mosquitoes, minimizing human disease risk.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Birds
  • Dilution effect
  • Vector-borne disease
  • West Nile virus
  • Zoonoses

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Vanessa O. Ezenwa

  • Marvin S. Godsey

  • Raymond J. King

  • Stephen C. Guptill

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free