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4 April 2018 DETERMINING RAPTOR SPECIES AND TISSUE SENSITIVITY FOR IMPROVED WEST NILE VIRUS SURVEILLANCE
Kendall L. Kritzik, Gail Kratz, Nicholas A. Panella, Kristen Burkhalter, Rebecca J. Clark, Brad J. Biggerstaff, Nicholas Komar
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Abstract

Raptors are a target sentinel species for West Nile virus (WNV) because many are susceptible to WNV disease, they are easily sighted because of their large size, and they often occupy territories near human settlements. Sick and dead raptors accumulate at raptor and wildlife rehabilitation clinics. However, investigations into species selection and specimen type for efficient detection of WNV are lacking. Accordingly, we evaluated dead raptors from north-central Colorado, US and southeast Wyoming, US over a 4-yr period. Nonvascular mature feathers (“quill”), vascular immature feathers (“pulp”), oropharyngeal swabs, cloacal swabs, and kidney samples were collected from raptor carcasses at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Colorado from 2013 through 2016. We tested the samples using real-time reverse transcriptase-PCR. We found that 11% (53/482) of raptor carcasses tested positive for WNV infection. We consistently detected positive specimens during a 12-wk span between the second week of July and the third week of September across all years of the study. We detected WNV RNA most frequently in vascular feather pulp from Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii). North American avian mortality surveillance for WNV using raptors can obviate necropsies by selecting Cooper's Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) as sentinels and targeting feather pulp as a substrate for viral detection.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2018
Kendall L. Kritzik, Gail Kratz, Nicholas A. Panella, Kristen Burkhalter, Rebecca J. Clark, Brad J. Biggerstaff, and Nicholas Komar "DETERMINING RAPTOR SPECIES AND TISSUE SENSITIVITY FOR IMPROVED WEST NILE VIRUS SURVEILLANCE," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 54(3), 528-533, (4 April 2018). https://doi.org/10.7589/2017-12-292
Received: 1 December 2017; Accepted: 26 January 2018; Published: 4 April 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
arbovirus
feather
raptor
surveillance
West Nile virus
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