DNA vaccination of American robins (Turdus migratorius) against West Nile virus

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 May;10(4):377-80. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0029.


West Nile virus (WNV) has caused at least 1150 cases of encephalitis, 100 deaths, and an estimated 30,000-80,000 illnesses in 6 of the last 7 years. Recent evidence from several regions has implicated American robins (Turdus migratorius) as an important host for feeding by Culex mosquitoes, and, when integrated with their host competence for WNV, demonstrates that they are a key WNV amplification host. We evaluated the efficacy of a DNA plasmid vaccine at reducing the viremia and infectiousness of hatch-year American robins. We found that a single dose of vaccine injected intramuscularly resulted in more than a 400-fold (10(2.6)) decrease in average viremia. Although sample sizes were small, these results suggest that vaccinated robins exhibit viremias that are likely to be mostly noninfectious to biting Culex mosquitoes. More broadly, if an orally effective formulation of this vaccine could be developed, new control strategies based on wildlife vaccination may be possible.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bird Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Songbirds*
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Viremia
  • West Nile Fever / prevention & control
  • West Nile Fever / veterinary*
  • West Nile virus / immunology*


  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Viral Vaccines