BRI News Archive

Nov 8, 2012

Maine Medical Center Research Institute Awarded Funding to Continue EEE Studies with BRI


The Maine Medical Center Research Institute Vector-borne Disease Lab (MMC) announces that it has received funding support from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to conduct surveillance for Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEv) in Maine’s songbirds in 2013. This funding was awarded following a collaborative pilot study in 2012 between MMC and the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), which found 7.4% of 28 songbirds sampled in the spring tested positive, indicating exposure to the disease. An additional 46 samples from the fall will be processed at the Centers for Disease Control in Fort Collins, CO.

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The Maine Medical Center Research Institute Vector-borne Disease Lab (MMC) announces that it has received funding support from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund to conduct surveillance for Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEv) in Maine’s songbirds in 2013. This funding was awarded following a collaborative pilot study in 2012 between MMC and the Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), which found 7.4% of 28 songbirds sampled in the spring tested positive, indicating exposure to the disease. An additional 46 samples from the fall will be processed at the Centers for Disease Control in Fort Collins, CO.

In 2013, MMC will coordinate blood sampling of more than 200 songbirds for EEEv at three sites: River Point Conservation Area in Falmouth (BRI), the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Appledore Island (Shoals Marine Laboratory). Results for this research will inform our understanding of the amplification and transmission of this disease in Maine, and help us predict and prepare for outbreaks of this disease which infects wildlife, livestock, and humans. This work will complement other EEEv surveillance conducted by MMC in deer, moose, turkeys, and mosquitoes.

Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare disease, but often considered among the most serious mosquito-borne illnesses because of its high rate of mortality—about 33 percent in humans with survivors experiencing brain damage, in most cases. In addition, there is no cure.

This collaboration offers multiple organizations the chance to use complementary skills and capacities to conduct surveillance of a disease that could impact Maine’s wildlife and human health. For more information about arboviral surveillance results in Maine please visit the arboviral webpage of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The mission of Biodiversity Research Institute is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and to use scientific findings to advance environmental awareness and inform decision makers. BRI researchers work throughout the world in a variety of ecosystems and with a variety of wildlife species. To learn more about BRI’s bird banding station at River Point Conservation area, visit www.briloon.org/riverpoint

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The mission of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is to provide the leadership, expertise, information, and tools to assure conditions in which all Maine people can be healthy. To learn more about EEEv and other vector-borne diseases, please visit: www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease.