Letter | Published:

Arbovirus Antibodies in Avian Sera

Nature volume 212, pages 431432 (22 October 1966) | Download Citation



SEVERAL arboviruses are known to infect wild and domestic birds and the possibility that migratory birds may act as disseminators of arboviruses has been investigated in America and Asia1,2. During the spring of 1965, samples of blood were collected by members of the West Sahara Ornithological Expedition from birds netted at the Defilia Oasis, near Figuig, Morocco. They were transported to London in wet ice and examined for neutralizing antibodies against African arboviruses by plaque inhibition (bead) tests performed in monolayer cultures of chick embryo cells3. The results of these tests are given in Table 1. Ninety-one sera were tested against Sindbis and Chikungunya virus; decreasing numbers, due to the extinction of some samples, were tested against Bunyamwera, Middelburg and O'nyong-nyong viruses. Sera from four swallows Hirundo rustica were positive when tested against Sindbis virus, and seven sera, from five swallows and two sparrows, Passer hispaniolensis and P. domesticus, gave positive results against Chikungunya virus. One female H. rustica had antibodies against both these viruses. One sample of serum gave a positive result and one a doubtfully positive result against Bunyamwera virus; both these specimens came from female swallows. Middelburg and O'nyong-nyong antibody tests gave only negative results.

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    , Progr. Med. Virol., 3, 59 (1961).

  2. 2.

    , , , and , Amer. J. Trop. Med. and Hyg., 13, 859 (1964).

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    , Bull. World Hlth. Organ., 22, 363 (1960).

  4. 4.

    , , , and , Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. and Med., 97, 733 (1958).

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    , and , Arch. für Virusforsch., 15, 441 (1965).

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  1. National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, N.W.7.

  2. Game Research Association, Fordingbridge, Hampshire.

    • J. S. ASH


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