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Pathogen screening 

Background

Wild birds are key hosts of several mosquito-borne diseases, and migratory birds may be responsible for the importation of pathogens into new areas. In Scotland, where many native mosquito species are bird-biting and zoonotic diseases of birds pose the most risk to humans, bird morbidity could be an important indicator of mosquito-borne pathogen circulation. We are therefore screening birds as well as mosquitoes for a wide range of pathogens. 

zoonotic infographic
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We are using advanced molecular tools to screen Scottish mosquitoes and birds for a wide range of pathogens. These will include emerging zoonotic viruses (e.g. West Nile virus, Usutu virus) and pathogens of avian conservation concern (e.g. avian malaria, avian pox). We will be screening birds from selected wetlands where mosquito sampling is being conducted. We are also checking mosquitoes for the presence of Wolbachia, a bacterium that naturally occurs in some mosquito species and may alter their ability to transmit diseases. 

Together, this information will help us to find out whether any mosquito-borne pathogens are circulating in Scotland and assess the current and future risk of mosquito-borne disease transmission to humans and birds. 

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