Pathology of Fatal West Nile Virus Infections in Native and Exotic Birds during the 1999 Outbreak in New York City, New York

We studied birds from two wildlife facilities in New York City, New York, that died or were euthanatized and were suspected to have West Nile virus infections

K. E. Steele; M. J. Linn; R. J. Schoepp; N. Komar; T. W. Geisbert; R. M. Manduca; P. P. Calle; B. L. Raphael; T. L. Clippinger; T. Larsen; J. Smith; R. S. Lanciotti; N. A. Panella; T. S. McNamara


Scholarcy highlights

  • West Nile fever caused fatal disease in humans, horses, and birds in the northeastern United States during 1999
  • The sudden emergence of West Nile fever in the northeastern United States in 1999, the first time this disease has ever been seen in the western hemisphere, was a dramatic and unexpected event
  • Crows and house sparrows die following experimental infection,24 freeranging birds have not been previously reported to be significantly affected by West Nile virus
  • We document that the 1999 WNV outbreak caused disease, severe pathologic changes, and death in a variety of birds
  • We show that the virus that caused this outbreak demonstrated a nonrestricted tropism in affected birds, infecting essentially all major organ systems and a wide variety of individual cell types
  • We present diagnostic methods that may be useful to pathologists and others who will play important roles in the public health response should WNV reemerge in 2000 or subsequent years
  • When we tested replicate samples by tissue section IHC, virus isolation, and Reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction, the heart, kidney, and spleen were consistently positive by all three methods

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