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Volume 10, Number 12—December 2004

Research

VecTest as Diagnostic and Surveillance Tool for West Nile Virus in Dead Birds

Ward B. Stone*Comments to Author , Joseph C. Okoniewski*, Joseph E. Therrien*, Laura D. Kramer†, Elizabeth B. Kauffman†, and Millicent Eidson†
Author affiliations: *New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, New York, USA; †New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York, USA; VecTest for Detecting West Nile Virus

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Table 1

Comparison of oral VecTest and RT-PCR resultsa,b for West Nile virus in dead birds, New York State, April 2003– July 2004

No. of birds
VecTest resultsc
Species (listed by order) No. birds tested RT-PCR–positive True positive (%)d False-positive (%)e
Ciconiiformes
  Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 8 1 0 0
Anseriformes
  Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 7 1 0 0
Falconiformes
  Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 6 1 0 0
  Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) 14 3 1 0
  Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 33 3 0 0
  Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) 3 1 0 0
  Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus) 1 1 1 NA
  Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 36 11 0 (0) 0
  American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 12 4 3 0
  Merlin (Falco columbarius) 4 1 0 0
  Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 7 1 0 0
Galliformes
  Impeyan Pheasant (Lophophorus impeyanus) 1 1 0 0
Charadriiformes
  Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 3 1 0 0
  Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) 3 2 1 0
Columbiformes
  Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 75 6 0 0
Strigiformes
  Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) 25 12 0 (0) 1
Passeriformes
  Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 339 166 133 (80) 1 (1)
  American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 1,076 702 608 (87) 7 (2)
  Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) 22 10 2 (20) 0
  Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2 1 0 0
  American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 233 16 3 (19) 1 (1)
  Gray Catbird (Dumatella carolinensis) 113 2 0 13 (12)
  Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) 2 1 0 0
  European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 85 1 1 1 (1)
  Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) 5 1 0 0
  Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 21 6 4 0
  Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 189 6 3 1 (1)
  Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 8 1 0 1
  House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 17 7 7 1
  House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 222 41 31 (76) 1 (1)
  Gouldian Finch (Chloebia gouldiae) 1 1 0 0
  Society Finch (Lonchura domestica) 1 1 1 NA
  Other speciesf 339 0 NA 8g (2)
Total all species 2,913 1,013 799 (79) 36 (2)

aRT-PCR, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction; NA, not available.
bPrincipally tests of kidney (brain or heart alternate when kidney missing).
cPercentages are provided for species where n > 10.
dNo. and percentage of RT-PCR–positive birds that were VecTest-positive.
eNo. and percentage of RT-PCR–negative birds that were VecTest-positive.
f84 species representing 16 orders.
gMute Swan (Cygnus olor) (1), Green Heron (Butorides virescens) (6), Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) (1).

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