Research Shows Artificial Light at Night Might Increase Virus Transmission by Birds

A research shows that birds exposed to artificial light at night might increase the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV).

West Nile Virus that infects birds and other animals including humans. The virus can cause West Nile fever for people and sever disease in horses. The virus is transmitted by birds and mosquitos.

The study led by Meredith Kernbach, a PhD student in the University of South Florida College of Public Health, suggested that wild birds who carry the virus would remain infectious two days longer if exposed to artificial light at night time, leading to higher potential of virus spread.


(Image: Pixabay)

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, studied 45 house sparrow and half of the birds were exposed to artificial light at night. Researchers followed them for 7-25 days and found that even though all birds were infected within 2-4 days, those exposed to light at night remained transmissible of WNV for longer time.

Kernbach explained that the findings may reveal how light pollution can affect the spread of zoonotic diseases. She also suggested that it is also critical to learn the impacts of new lighting technology on wildlife.

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