Is Wolbachia Causing Red Knot Populations

to Crash and Shorebirds to Face Imminent Extinction?

Red Knot
Credit: Red Knot by peggycadigan on flickr (CC-by-2.0)

Missing Research

and Outright Lies

In all the months that I've been researching the Zika virus, I have never come across such a divide in the scientific community.

And it appears that public health agencies are either downplaying, removing, or avoiding crucial information that the public deserves to know.

While researching this article, I came across about six links to studies or reports that were removed or that rendered a 404 or 501 error.

And I'm not the only one. I took the following screenshot of the American Bird Conservancy's newsroom post called Red Knot Wintering Population Drops By More Than 5,000, Accelerating Slide To Extinction.[1] Notice the editor's note: report no longer available.

Red Knot Wintering Population Drops by More than 5 000 Accelerating Slide to Extinction American Bird Conservancy
Credit: Screenshot of American Bird Conservancy Newsroom Post [Fair Use]

In 1971, 221 Birds (75 Species) Were Studied

43% Had Antibodies to West Nile Virus, 19% to Chikungunya, 15% to Zika, and 13% to Ntaya Virus

It took me days to find the original source of this study titled Arbovirus Survey in Wild Birds in Uganda by Okia, N.O. et al. Journal article: East African Medical Journal 1971 Vol.48 No.12 pp.725-31.[2]

Because when I looked it up on PubMed, the NIH page was practically blank.[3] Up next are the screenshots of the original and the NIH's page (just in case my bibliography links don't work).

Zika Found in 15 Percent of Birds

45 Years Ago in Uganda

Arbovirus survey in wild birds in Uganda Study
Credit: Screenshot of Arbovirus survey in wild birds in Uganda Abstract [Fair Use]

PubMed Search of the Same Study

Arbovirus survey in wild birds in Uganda PubMed NIH page
Credit: Screenshot of PubMed page of Arbovirus survey in wild birds in Uganda study [Fair Use]

Yet, a 1964 Study of Zika Virus From Aedes

is Available (and Similar Articles Promoted in Sidebar)

Twelve isolations of Zika virus from Aedes  (Stegomyia) africanus (Theobald) taken in and above a Uganda forest
Credit: Screenshot of PubMed 1964 Study of Zika Virus From Aedes [Fair Use]

Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc Guelph; Dipl ACVIM

Worms and Germs Blog: Zika Virus and Animals

After dealing with Dr. Aileen M. Marty, M.D., F.A.C.P., a member of WHO's Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings, Risk Assessments, Command & Control, EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases), it was relief to read on Dr. Weese's February 2nd, 2016 post:

"Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus related to West Nile virus and dengue virus."[4]

Zika is More Related to West Nile Virus

Than the CDC or WHO Are Willing to Admit

In my article Zika: The Warnings About Wolbachia and Culex Our Health Authorities are Ignoring, I presented numerous examples of where the similarities between West Nile virus and Zika are dismissed (and even lied about).

It was unnerving to hear a chief of epidemiology (Dr. Robert Haley of UT Southwestern) claim: "West Nile and Zika are entirely different."

A March 23rd, 2016 O'reilly article by J.A. Ginsburg reminds us:

"For West Nile [virus], birds are an "amplifying" host, brewing up enough virus to infect mosquitoes, driving the cycle of disease. That dozens of other species, including humans, could also become sick was unusual. That dozens of mosquitoes species could vector (transmit) the virus was gobsmacking."[6]

You Might Think 15 Percent of Birds Isn't Much

But That Was 45 Years Ago; Zika Has Mutated Since

And there are about 40 strains of the Zika virus.[5]

I am amazed that almost everything that points to Zika being related to West Nile virus or Culex being a vector (which it is in Brazil and China) has been either downplayed, ignored, or omitted from mainstream media.

Early Sign Another Vector is Involved

An April 15th, 2016 Time article Zika Mutates Extremely Quickly, Which Is Why It’s So Scary[5] by Alexandra Sifferlin states:

"What’s also curious, the researchers note, is that the strains of the virus collected from humans in this outbreak haven’t matched the strains seen in mosquitoes ... If we can’t find them, it brings into question whether the [Aedes] mosquito is the primary mode of transmission in the current epidemic."

Remember, most of the available studies point to the Aedes mosquitoes. In fact, as stated in my article Another Mosquito Carries Zika: The Proof Health Authorities and Media are Ignoring, Dr. Fiona Hunter, Canadian medical entomologist, observed:

There was "no mosquito infection data to support ZIKV [Zika virus] transmission by Aedes aegypti in Brazil."


Dr. Hunter Shows Slide With Note To Self
Credit: Screenshot of Dr. Fiona Hunter, Canadian Medical Entomologist, With Her Slide "Note to Self" [Fair Use]

So Why Are Authorities Ignoring Culex?

Because Culex Mosquitoes Prefer to Bite Birds

I'm not sure why the CDC or WHO is downplaying or ignoring Culex mosquitoes as a vector of Zika.

But my guess is that, for some reason, they don't want the public aware that birds are a reservoir host of Zika (the way West Nile and other encephalitic arboviruses are). 

The other reason: Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquito releases in Columbia, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, southern China, California, and Florida.

Because if birds are a reservoir host of Zika (as they are with West Nile virus), the mosquitoes in the Culex pipiens complex will play [and probably do] key roles in the transmission of the Zika virus. And Culex mosquitoes are found almost everywhere, including Canada, Europe, and Australia.

My Theory

Birds that consume the Wolbachia-infected Aedes and their eggs/larvae or birds that consume the aquatic species which eat Aedes eggs/larvae will be the first to shows signs of reproductive abnormalities.

When these birds also acquire the Zika virus (which can be passed along via mosquito bites or the consumption of mosquito eggs and larvae), the combination of Wolbachia and the Zika virus circulating in a bird could be the origins of where the Zika virus became a destructive, infectious, neurotropic and reproductive disease in humans.

Related: Zika Shrivels Testes, Drops Testosterone, and May Cause Infertility

Experts and Studies Which Support My Theory

The study North American Encephalitic Arboviruses[7] by Larry E. Davis, MD, J. David Beckham, MD, and Kenneth L. Tyler, MD states:

"Not all mosquitoes die with onset of cold weather, and some infected adult mosquitoes instead become dormant, becoming active again with warmer weather. Infected female mosquitoes can also transmit virus to their eggs (transovarian transmission), which survive through winter and then hatch into infected pupa which mature into infected adults.

Like infected mosquitoes, infected ticks can also overwinter, and transmit virus via transovarian transmission with infected larvae developing into infected nymphs and infected adults (transtadial transmission)."

Key points in a March 12th, 2016 Veterinary post called Zika Virus and What We Can Learn from Related Viruses:[8]

West Nile virus "has a lot in common with the Zika virus ... West Nile Virus (WNV) too was discovered in Uganda (in the country’s West Nile district) only 10 years before Zika virus."

"... interestingly, the WNV strain in America appears to have originated from one found in Israel."

"Similar to the increased illness caused by the Zika virus that arrived in Brazil from the Pacific, the WNV strain in America had begun killing wild and domestic birds in Israel the year before its arrival in America ... a more virulent strain of WNV evolved BEFORE its arrival in America."

A January 28th, 2016 post[9] by Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, reminds us:

West Nile virus "was easily spread by North American mosquitoes, and it obliterated highly susceptible populations of Western Hemisphere birds, such as crows and many songbird species.

By 2000, when West Nile virus returned to New York and other parts of the U.S., veterinarians and wildlife experts realized that the African virus was readily passed to birds by mosquitoes that fed on nested chicks during the spring, then horses and humans during the hot summer months, creating an entirely new biological cycle for the virus and the disease."

May 18th, 2016: The International Journal of Infectious Diseases review article Zika virus, vectors, reservoirs, amplifying hosts, and their potential to spread worldwide: what we know and what we should investigate urgently[23] by Rengina Vorou states:

"a ZIKV [Zika virus] cluster was probably spread from Uganda to Malaysia in 1945, making its way to Micronesia sometime around 1960, where it formed the Asian lineage. However, it is unknown whether to attribute this migration only to human and vector movements, or also to birds carrying the virus along migratory routes." 

A PLOS one research article, Zika Virus Emergence in Mosquitoes in Southeastern Senegal, 2011,[10] by Diawo Diallo et al. underscores the following:
"Overall infection rates among species differed significantly ... Ae. furciferAe. vittatusAe. tayloriAe. luteocephalusAe. dalzieliAe. aegypti, Ma. uniformisand An. coustani had the lowest (compared to Ae. africanus, Ae. hirsutus, Ae. metallicus, Ae. unilineatus and Cx. perfuscus)."
As Dr. Constância F. J. Ayres pointed out (shown as my intro photo in Zika Facts You Are Not Being Told and CDC's Cover-Up):

"Culex perfuscus had a transmission rate 10 times higher than Aedes aegypti."


Drs. Ayres and Hunter at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology's Zika Symposium

Scroll to 30:12 for Dr. Ayres and 58:54 for Dr. Hunter

Who, What, and Where Do Mosquitoes Bite?

By Cameron Webb, Entomology Today (July 8, 2016)

Cameron Webb's post states:

"For the majority of mosquito-borne viruses, birds or primates are the reservoir hosts."[11]

He explains:

"In the case of pathogens such as West Nile virus or Japanese encephalitis virus, the mosquitoes that infect people as they bite have usually bitten an animal first, most often a bird. The mosquitoes pick up the infection from feeding on infected birds and then pass it on to other animals or people."[11]

And Laurie Garrett quoted David Morens, Senior Scientific Advisor, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) regarding the Zika virus in each new ecology it enters:

"Regarding birds, while it can’t be ruled out, the Western Hemisphere is a new area for this virus, with different species and ecologic niches. It wouldn’t be my greatest fear, but it has to be considered a possibility."[9]

Aedes Mosquitoes Prefer Biting Humans

Perhaps They Cause 80 Percent of Mild Zika Infections

For my article Zika: The Warnings About Wolbachia and Culex Our Health Authorities are Ignoring, I asked Dr. Constância F. J. Ayres:

Since Culex are also vectors, would the infectious dose of the Zika virus from a Culex mosquito be more apt to cause symptoms and the more devastating outcomes for a human than from the bite of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus? 

She responded, "This is a good question and deserves further investigation."

Aedes Aegypti Expressed the Highest Fitness

When It Fed on Birds (Lyimo IN, Ferguson HM, 2009)

Even though many Aedes aegypti mosquitoes prefer feeding on humans, their biological fitness (the ability to survive to reproductive age, find a mate, and produce offspring) is enhanced when they feed on birds.

You will find it difficult to find supporting studies about this, though. I found reference to this in the 21-page PDF Host Preferences of Blood-Feeding Mosquitoes[12] by Willem Takken and Niels O. Verhulst.

When I did a search on "Which hosts will Aedes aegypti feed on" and clicked on the following entry, the page was gone. I took screenshots since I want to show you proof.

Multiple Host Feeding Behavior in Aedes Aegypti Google Entry is Gone
Credit: Screenshot of Multiple Host Feeding Behavior in Aedes Aegypti Research Paper Rendered a Page Not Found [Fair Use]

Source: Trends in Parasitology Vol.25 No.4

Ecological and evolutionary determinants of host species choice in mosquito vectors (Issa N. Lyimo and Heather M. Ferguson, 2009)

Summary of results from experimental studies testing the impact of vertebrate host species on the fitness of mosquitoes
Credit: Screenshot of Table 1 on Page 4 of the PDF study titled "Ecological and evolutionary determinants of host species choice in mosquito vectors" by Issa N. Lyimo and Heather M. Ferguson. Trends in Parasitology Vol.25 No.4 [Fair Use]

Not All Aedes Aegypti Prefer to Bite Humans

 A December 8th, 2014 post by Sedeer el-Showk called Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Humans?[18] states: 
"To track down the gene, the researchers took advantage of the fact that not all Aedes aegypti prefer to bite humans. The species originated in the forests of sub-Saharan Africa, where it fed on non-human animals."

So Why are Departments of Health Lying?

As cited in my previous article, Wolbachia-Infected Mosquitoes Might Reduce Dengue, Enhance Zika, and Cause a Million Souls to Become Sterile, many other species may support Zika virus infection, including forest-dwelling birds, horses, goats, cattle, ducks and bats.

Yet, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services states on page 2 of their FAQ about the Zika virus (see screenshot next):

"Do animals/birds carry Zika? The role of animals/birds in this epidemic is not known. Some animals can be infected with the virus, but not birds."[13]

Author's note: There are other examples, but I decided to show you just two (so that I can continue on with the main focus of this article). When you look for yourself online, I'm sure you will be surprised by what you discover too.

Screenshot of New Hampshire Department

of Health and Human Services: Zika Virus FAQ's

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services April 5, 2016
Credit: Screenshot of bottom of page 1 and part of page 2 of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Zika Virus FAQ [Fair Use]

From the Illinois Department of Public Health

Zika Virus Action Plan - Page 11 [Citation 22]

Illinois Department of Health | Zika Virus Action Plan
Credit: Screenshot of page 11 Illinois Department of Health | Zika Virus Action Plan [Fair Use]

What Kind of Birds Will Be Most Affected?

When it comes to Wolbachia, there are several ways that birds can acquire it. My sense is that seabirds and those that winter/feed in Brazil (or any areas where Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are released) will be exposed to the most lethal amounts of it.

And sure enough, I discovered a CBC post on November 26th, 2016 titled Scientists stumped by disappearing seabirds off Nova Scotia despite protections.[14] Key points:

There were only 73 breeding pairs counted in Nova Scotia.

Andrew Boyne, head of conservation planning for the Canadian Wildlife Service, said:

"The issue may be what is happening during the seven or eight months the birds are not in Canada and either migrating along the Eastern Seaboard or wintering in Brazil."

Birds Eat Adult and Aquatic Forms of Mosquitoes

The most common mosquito-eating birds are swallows, warblers, waterfowl, sparrows and few other species.[24] It's a myth that purple martins eat 2,000 mosquitoes a day.  

Biologists have been mystified over the origin and source of the oft-quoted figure "a martin eats 2,000 mosquitoes per day."

The publication of J.L. Wade's book, What You Should Know About the Purple Martin, has put an end to this mystery. In it, he states:

"This figure was originated by me after extensive study of the birds' feeding habits .... My studies showed that a martin, must on an average, consume its own weight in insects each day. Its average weight is four ounces, and this equals approximately 14,000 mosquitoes .... I felt the estimate of 2,000 mosquitoes per day was conservative."[25]

R.F. Johnson (1967) analyzed the stomach contents of 34 purple martins and reported that 3 percent of the insects found in seven martins were culicine mosquitoes, but no mosquitoes were found in stomachs collected thereafter.[26]

D. W. Micks examined the stomach contents of a purple martin killed by a vehicle near Gilchrist, Texas one spring and found the stomach full of mosquitoes, most of which were identifiable as Aedes sollicitans, a salt marsh species that was present there in huge numbers.[26]

Migratory Birds That Winter in South America

According to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, red knots and white-rumped sandpipers migrate from Canada and winter in the southernmost part of South America.[27]

Other birds that winter in South America include: common nighthawks, Swainson's hawks, red-eyed vireos, purple martins, barn and cliff swallows, blackpoll, cerulean and Connecticut warblers, scarlet tanagers, and bobolinks.[27]

Arctic terns nest as far north as land extends and winter on opposite ends of the earth – a distance covering 22,000 miles (35,400 km) annually.[28] It's interesting that they make a lengthy stop-over, spending almost a month[34] around the Cape Verde Islands[29] to feed on zooplankton and fish. After that, about half of the artic terns continue their journey along the Brazilian coast.[30]

Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) and Mosquito-Borne Zika

Although we didn't hear much about it, on March 15th, 2016, Cape Verde had its first case of microcephaly. Among the 7,490 suspected cases of Zika virus reported between October 21st, 2015 and March 6th, 2016, 165 involved pregnant women.[31]

In all of Africa, the CDC has only mapped out Cape Verde as "where mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus has been reported."[32] [I'm doubtful that only Cape Verde is affected, though].

It galls me that the CDC's webpage (updated on October 17th, 2016) actually categorizes Cape Verde as "Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions"[33] even though they state:

"Public health officials have reported that mosquitoes in Cape Verde are infected with Zika virus and are spreading it to people."[33]

In my mind, "Alert - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel" should apply wherever mosquitoes are infecting people with the Zika virus. And did you notice? WHO refers to Cape Verde as Cabo Verde. Public health authorities should use both names to refer to the same geographical location to avoid any misinterpretation.

Arctic Terns Stop-Over in Cape (or Cabo) Verde

Where They Could Be Reservoir Hosts of the Zika Virus

Global Arctic Tern Migratory Path With Stop-Over in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)
Credit: Andreas Trepte (CC-by-SA 2.5) | Cape Verde Map by By Alvaro1984 18 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons [RoseWrites superimposed Public Domain map over global map Dec. 10, 2016]

Thousands of Arctic Tern Chicks are Dying

Arctic Tern Chick
Credit: ianpreston on flickr (CC-by-2.0)

August 2014: Seabird Colonies Are Vanishing

With "Massive" Chick Deaths Alarming Scientists

Cheryl Katz, an environmental health news writer for National Geographic, published a report August 28th, 2014.[35] Key points about arctic terns included:

  • In the arctic tern colonies, "there are just dead chicks everywhere," said Freydis Vigfusdottir, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, England.
  • Now researchers are struggling to comprehend the catastrophic breeding failure and its implications for an ecosystem that is fundamental to the planet's health.
  • These same problems are now being noted in wading birds like the redshank, shorebirds like the red knot, and other waterfowl in the northern United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

Sverrir Thorstensen has banded 62,000 birds in the past 35 years. When he visited the colony earlier in 2014, things looked good: lots of nests, lots of eggs.

"All dead," he repeated, in a low voice. "There are hundreds lying dead."

Remember, Even Eliminate Dengue Acknowledges

"Wolbachia is not found in any larger animals such as mammals, reptiles, birds and fish."[36] [Ergo, it doesn't belong in these species and probably causes reproductive issues].

Wolbachia is NOT a "Benign" Bacteria

Wolbachia is a Bacteria and Reproductive Parasite Which Plays an Inordinate Role in Many Diseases

The Dangers of Wolbachia Poster by RoseWrites Available on Zazzle
Credit: RoseWrites [The Dangers of Wolbachia Poster Available on Zazzle]

In Australia, Wolbachia-Infected Mosquitoes

Have Been Released By Eliminate Dengue For 6 Years

Published December 7th, 2015, this news report had me alarmed.  The mystery surrounding mass bird and sea life deaths in the area has prompted public anger and concern.


Unprecedented Bird Deaths in at Least a Century

Over 21,000 Seabirds Died of "Malnutrition" in 2014

Birds and Fish Will Consume A Lot of Wolbachia

From Aedes Mosquitoes, Eggs, and Larvae (Plus Zika)

Is This Why Seabirds and Herring Are Dying? Poster by RoseWrites
Credit: Is This Why Seabirds and Herring Are Dying? Poster by RoseWrites [Available on Zazzle]

When I Googled: "Roseate terns endangered"

Roseate Terns Endangered Google Search
Credit: Screenshot of my Google search "Roseate terns endangered" [Fair Use]
Roseate Terns Breeding, Feeding, and Wintering Grounds
Credit: World Map by Christopher Schnese on flickr (CC-by-2.0) Colors & Text by RoseWrites Created December 3rd, 2016 [Ask about reuse]

Yet Both Wikipedia and the IUCN Red List

Deems Roseate and Arctic Terns' Status: Least Concern

Roseate tern WikipediaCredit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region (CC-by-2.0)Shown at right is a portion of the Wikipedia entry [Fair Use] for "Roseate tern" which (when I scrolled to the bottom) clearly states: "This page was last modified on 6 December 2016, at 13:03."[16]

Look up "Arctic tern" on Wikipedia and it lists them also as "LC" (Least Concern). Scroll to the bottom and it states: "This page was last modified on 9 December 2016, at 17:14."[37]

The IUCN Red List (which I find is usually accurate) also considers Roseate terns Sterna dougallii and Arctic terns Sterna paradisaea as not endangered (and in the "Least Concern" category).[15] [38]

Oddly, the IUCN's regional assessment of roseate terns only included Europe. And in the range description, it states:

"This species breeds in widely but sparsely distributed colonies along the east coast and offshore islands of CanadaU.S.A., from Honduras to Venezuela, possibly to Brazil ..."[15]

Hinterland's Roseate Tern Migration PathCredit: Screenshot of Hinterland Who's Who Roseate Tern Range MapIt doesn't make any sense to include European data about roseate terns. And what's with the "possibly to Brazil" (that is definitely where they feed and winter). Image shown at right from Hinterland Who's Who page [Fair Use].

During November and December older Common Terns migrate to southern Brazil and Argentina, while younger birds are found primarily along the north coast of South America (Hays et al. 1997).[19]

And – get this – at the bottom of the IUCN Red List page for Sterna dougallii and Sterna paradisaea it states:

BirdLife International. 2016. Sterna dougallii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22694601A86779648. BirdLife International. 2016. Sterna paradisaea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22694629A86791057.

I guess that means these IUCN Red List pages are supposedly up-to-date?

I wonder if Eliminate Dengue (and others carrying out the Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquito releases) are worried about being fined for violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Criminal activities may be punished with fines up to $50,000 and/or one year imprisonment for crimes involving endangered species, and $25,000 and/or six months imprisonment for crimes involving threatened species.[17]

Related Articles About the Zika Virus By Me


Zika Virus: Our Tainted Blood Supply

Zika and Its Path: What Our Public Health Authorities Are Hiding

Safe Mosquito Eradication That Works: Using Coffee, Bti, Rubbing Alcohol, and a Cat


Help Fight the Global Spread of Zika

Spread the word. Let your local politicians and public health authority know Culex are also a vector of Zika. Report dead birds and press authorities to test them for Zika and Wolbachia. Share this article. 

I designed serious and fun products on Zazzle to help raise funds for Zika research (either in Canada and/or Brazil). My Zazzle collection and my devoted Facebook page are both called: Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic.[20][21]

Author's note: All of my citations have a clickable link to their source. The list is found in the bibliography at the end of this page.