U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 87(4), 2012, pp. 760–767; doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2012.12-0141


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is an emerging arbovirus, and inter-continental spread is an impending threat. The virus is maintained in a transmission cycle between mosquito vectors and vertebrate hosts, including birds. We detected variation in interspecies responses among North American birds to infection with strains of two different JEV genotypes (I and III). Several native North American passerine species and ring-billed gulls had the highest average peak viremia titers after inoculation with a Vietnamese (genotype I) JEV strain. Oral JEV shedding was minimal and cloacal shedding was rarely detected. The majority of birds, both viremic (72 of 74; 97.3%) and non-viremic (31 of 37; 83.8%), seroconverted by 14 days post-inoculation and West Nile virus-immune individuals had cross-protection against JEV viremia. Reservoir competence and serologic data for a variety of avian taxa are important for development of JEV surveillance and control strategies and will aid in understanding transmission ecology in the event of JEV expansion to North America.