Gabriel L. Hamer a , * , Tavis K. Anderson b , c , Garrett E. Berry a , Alvin P. Makohon-Moore d , Jeffrey C. Crafton e , Jeffrey D. Brawn f , Amanda C. Dolinski g , Bethany L. Krebs f , Marilyn O. Ruiz h , Patrick M. Muzzall d , Tony L. Goldberg b , Edward D. Walker a
12 December 2012
► Co-circulating hematozoan parasites in avian amplification hosts for West Nile virus. ► Hematocrit centrifuge technique for microfilariae and trypanosomes. ► Phylogenetics describe community composition of filarioid nematodes and trypanosomes. ► Parasites have potential for direct or indirect interactions with West Nile virus.
Hosts are commonly infected with a suite of parasites, and interactions among these parasites can affect the size, structure, and behavior of host–parasite communities. As an important step to understanding the significance of co-circulating parasites, we describe prevalence of co-circulating hemoparasites in two important avian amplification hosts for West Nile virus (WNV), the American robin ( Turdus migratorius) and house sparrow ( Passer domesticus), during the 2010–2011 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Rates of nematode microfilariemia were 1.5% of the robins ( n = 70) and 4.2% of the house sparrows ( n = 72) collected during the day and 11.1% of the roosting robins ( n = 63) and 0% of the house sparrows ( n = 11) collected at night. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences of the 18S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) genes from these parasites resolved two clades of filarioid nematodes. Microscopy revealed that 18.0% of American robins ( n = 133) and 16.9% of house sparrows ( n = 83) hosted trypanosomes in the blood. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences from the 18s rRNA gene revealed that the trypanosomes fall within previously described avian trypanosome clades. These results document hemoparasites in the blood of WNV hosts in a center of endemic WNV transmission, suggesting a potential for direct or indirect interactions with the virus.