Infectious Diseases

Region: Africa and North, Central, and South America

These studies investigate the link between biodiversity and immunological disease. Coevolution is thought to maintain geneticdiversity in pathogen and host populations, and to contribute to the complexity of the immune system. Indeed, high levels of genetic variation have been found in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a highly polymorphic gene system associated with immunity in a variety of vertebrates. High levels of heterozygosity at MHC loci can be associated with higher levels of parasite and disease resistance. Empirical evidence for an association between MHC variation and pathogen prevalence is needed across a wide range of ecological and demographic conditions. This study will attempt to correlate the extent of genetic diversity in MHC loci with parasite prevalence in free living, natural populations of rainforest birds that vary in population size and degree of geographic isolation.

Current Projects

Related Publications

2015
George, T. L.; Harrigan, R. J.; LaManna, J. A.; DeSante, D. F.; Saracco, J. F.; Smith, T. B. Persistent impacts of West Nile virus on North American bird populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2015, 112 (46), 14290–14294; DOI 10.1073/pnas.1507747112. online.
2014
Fuller, T. L.; Ducatez, M. F.; Njabo, K. Y.; Couancy-Hymann, E.; Chasar, T.; Aplogan, G. L.; Lao, S.; awoume, F.; Tehou, A.; Langeois, Q.; Krauss, S.; Smith, T. B. Avian influenza surveillance in Central and West Africa, 2010-2014. Epidemiology and Infection 2014; DOI 10.1017/S0950268814003586. online.
2014
Lauron, E. J.; Loiseau, C.; Bowie, R. C.; Spicer, G. S.; Smith, T. B.; Melo, M.; Sehgal, R. N. Coevolutionary patterns and diversification of avian malaria parasites in African Sunbirds (Family Nectariniidae). Parasitology 2014; DOI 10.1017/S0031182014001681. online.
2014
Harrigan, R. J.; Sedan, R.; Chasar, A. C.; Chaves, J.; Nguyen, J. T.; Whitaker, A.; Smith, T. B. New host and lineage diversity of avian haemosporidia in the Northern Andes. Evolutionary Applications 2014, 7 (7), 799–811; DOI 10.1111/eva.12176. online.
2014
Larison, B.; Njabo, K. Y.; Chasar, A. C.; Fuller, T.; Harrigan, R.; Smith, T. B. Spillover of pH1N1 to swine in Cameroon: an investigation of risk factors. BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10 (55); DOI 10.1186/1746-6148-10-55. online.
2014
Sheta, B. M.; Fuller, T.; Larison, B.; Njabo, K. Y.; Ahmed, A. S.; Chasar, A.; Aziz, S. A.; Khidr, A. A.; Elbokl, M. M.; Habbak, L. Z.; Smith, T. B. Putative human and avian risk factors for avian influenza virus infections in backyard poultry in Egypt. Veterinary Microbiology 2014, 168, 208–213; DOI 10.1016/j.vetmic.2013.11.010. online.
2014
Harrigan, R. J.; Thomassen, H.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B. A continental risk assessment of West Nile virus under climate change. Global Change Biology 2014, 20 (8), 2417–2425; DOI 10.1111/gcb.12534. online.
2014
Fuller, T. L.; Havers, F.; Xui, C.; Fang, L.; Cao, W.; Shu, Y.; Widdowson, M.; Smith, T. B. Identifying areas with a high risk of human infection with the avian influenza (H7N9) virus in East Asia. Journal of Infection 2014, 69, 174–181; DOI 10.1016/j.jinf.2014.03.006. online.
2013
Fuller, T. L.; Gilbert, M.; Martin, V.; Cappelle, J.; Hosseini, P.; Njabo, K. Y.; Aziz, S. A.; Xiao, X.; Peter, D.; Smith, T. B. Predicting hotspots for influenza virus reassortment. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2013, 19 (4), 581–588; DOI 10.3201/eid1904.120903. PDF online.
2013
Njabo, K. Y.; Smith, T. B.; Yohannes, E. Feeding habits of culicine mosquitos in the Cameroon lowland forests based on stable isotopes and blood meal analyses. Journal of Parasitology and Vector Biology 2013, 5, 6–12. PDF online.
2013
Hosseini, P. R.; Fuller, T.; Harrigan, R.; Zhao, D.; Arriola, C. S.; Gonzales, A.; Miller, M. J.; Xiao, X.; Smith, T. B.; Holland Jones, J.; Daszak, P. Metapopulation dynamics enable persistence of Influenza A, including A/H5N1, in poultry. PLoS ONE 2013, 8 (12); DOI 10.1371/annotation/4de9438b-646c-4efd-bf12-62a9baa301e2. PDF online.
2012
Shafir, S. C.; Fuller, T.; Smith, T. B.; Rimoin, A. W. A national study of individuals who handle migratory birds for evidence of avian and swine influenza virus infections. Journal of Clinical Virology 2012, 54 (4), 364–367. PDF online.
2011
Njabo, K. Y.; Fuller, T. L.; Chasar, A.; Pollinger, J. P.; Cattoli, G.; Terregino, C.; Monne, I.; Reynes, J.; Njouom, R.; Smith, T. B. Pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus in Swine, Cameroon, 2010. Veterinary Microbiology 2011, 156, 189–192; DOI 10.1016/j.vetmic.2011.09.003. online.
2011
Curd, E.; Pollinger, J.; Toffelmier, E.; Smith, T. B. Rapid influenza A detection and quantitation in birds using a one-step real-time reverse transcriptase PCR and high resolution melting. Journal of Virological Methods 2011, 176, 125–130; DOI 10.1016/j.jviromet.2011.05.033. online.
2011
Iezhova, T. A.; Dodge, M.; Sehgal, R. N.; Smith, T. B.; Valkiūnas, G. New avian Haemoproteus species (Haemosporida: Haemoproteidae) from African birds, with a critique of the use of host taxonomic information in hemoproteid classification. Journal of Parasitology 2011, 97 (4), 682–694; DOI 10.1645/GE-2709.1. online.
2011
Njabo, K. Y.; Cornel, A. J.; Bonneaud, C.; Toffelmier, E.; Sehgal, R. N.; Valkiunas, G.; Russell, A. F.; Smith, T. B. Nonspecific patterns of vector, host and avian malaria parasite associations in a Central African rainforest. Molecular Ecology 2011, 20, 1049–1061. PDF online.
2011
Sehgal, R. N.; Buermann, W.; Harrigan, R. J.; Bonneaud, C.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Sepil, I.; Valkiunas, G.; Iezhova, T.; Saatchi, S.; Smith, T. B. Spatially explicit predictions of blood parasites in a widely distributed African rainforest bird. Procedings of the Royal Society B 2011, 278, 1025–1033; DOI 10.1098/rspb.2010.1720. PDF online.
2010
Loiseau, C.; Iezhova, T. A.; Balkiunas, G.; Chasar, A.; Hutchinson, A.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. Spatial variation of haemosporidian parasite infection in African rainforest bird species. Journal of Parasitology 2010, 96, 21–29; DOI 10.1645/GE-2123.1. PDF online.
2010
Fuller, T.; Saatchi, S.; Curd, E. E.; Toffelmier, E.; Thomassen, H.; Buermann, W.; DeSante, D. F.; Nott, M. P.; Saracco, J. F.; Ralph, C. J.; Alexander, J. D.; Pollinger, J. P.; Smith, T. B. Mapping the risk of avian influenza in wild birds in the U.S.. BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10; DOI 10.1186/1471-2334-10-187. PDF online.
2010
Harrigan, R. J.; Thomassen, H. A.; Buermann, W.; Cummings, R. F.; Kahn, M. E.; Smith, T. B. Economic conditions predict prevalence of West Nile virus. PLoS ONE 2010, 5 (11); DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0015437. PDF online.
2009
Iezhova, T. A.; Valkiūnas, G.; Loiseau, C.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. Haemoproteus cyanomitrae sp. nov. (Haemosporida: Haemoproteidae) from a Widespread African Songbird, the Olive Sunbird, Cyanomitra olivacea. Journal of Parasitology 2009, 96, 136–143; DOI 10.1645/GE-2198.1. online.
2009
Njabo, K. Y.; Cornel, A. J.; Sehgal, R. N.; Loiseau, C.; Buermann, W.; Harrigan, R. J.; Pollinger, J.; Valkiūnas, G.; Smith, T. B. Coquillettidia (Culicidae, Diptera) mosquitoes as new natural vectors of avian malaria in Africa. Malaria Journal 2009, 8; DOI 10.1186/1475-2875-8-193. PDF online.
2009
Chasar, A.; Loiseau, C.; Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. Prevalence and diversity patterns of avian blood parasites in degraded African rainforest habitats. Molecular Ecology 2009, 18, 4121–4133. PDF online.
2009
Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T. A.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. New malaria parasites of the subgenus Novyella in African rainforest birds, with remarks on their high prevalence, classification and diagnostics. Parasitology Research 2009, 104, 1061–1077. PDF online.
2008
Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T. A.; Loiseau, C.; Chasar, A.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. New species of haemosporidian parasites (Haemosporidia) from African rainforest birds, with remarks on their classification. Parasitology Research 2008, 103, 1213–1228. PDF online.
2005
Jones, H. I.; Sehgal, R. N.; Smith, T. B. Leucocytozoon (Apicomplexa: Leucocytozoide) from West African birds, with descriptions of two species. Journal of Parasitology 2005, 29, 397–401. PDF online.
2005
Valkiunas, G.; Sehgal, R. N.; Iezhova, T. A.; Smith, T. B. Further observations on the blood parasites of birds in Uganda. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 2005, 14, 580–587. PDF online.
2005
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Molecular evidence for host specificity of parasitic nematode microfilariae in some African rainforest birds. Molecular Ecology 2005, 14, 3977–3988. PDF online.
2005
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Blood parasites of some West African rainforest birds. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 2005, 67, 295–301. PDF online.
2002
Richard, F. A.; Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. A comparative analysis of PCR-based detection methods for avian malaria. Journal of Parasitology 2002, 88, 819–822. PDF online.
2001
Sehgal, R. N.; Jones, H. I.; Smith, T. B. Host specificity and prevalence of Trypanosoma in the African avifauna: a molecular approach. Molecular Ecology 2001, 10, 2319–2327. PDF online.

CTR Bird

Center for Tropical Research | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300 | 619 Charles E. Young Dr. East | Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496

The Center for Tropical Research, located on the third floor of La Kretz Hall, is part of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. For general inquiries, contact Christa Gomez, CTR Office Manager, at (310) 206-6234, or by email at cgomez@lifesci.ucla.edu. Visitors are always welcome.

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