Birds roosting in large groups less likely to contract West Nile virus

October 23, 2014 3:48 PM

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Birds roosting in large groups less likely to contract West Nile virus

Although it would seem logical that large numbers of roosting birds would attract more mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and contract the disease when bitten, recent research at the University of Illinois found the opposite to be true. That is, when large groups of birds roost together the chances that an individual bird will get bitten by mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus and subsequently contract the disease actually go down.

"Our study is the first field-based evidence to support what's called the 'encounter-dilution effect' acting in a vector-borne disease system with an experiment," said U of I researcher Bethany Krebs. "There have been other laboratory and modeling studies that suggest that mosquitoes feed less per i...

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