Although West Nile virus (WNV) is generally thought to circulate among mosquitoes and birds, several historic and recent works providing evidence of WNV activity in wild mammals have been published. Indeed, a previous review tabulated evidence of WNV exposure in at least 100 mammalian species. Herein, we provide an update on WNV activity in wild and select other mammals that have been reported since the last major review article on this subject was published in early 2013. Of interest, new species, such as Hoffman’s two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni
), are now included in the growing list of wild mammals that have been naturally exposed to WNV. Furthermore, new instances of WNV viremia as well as severe disease presumably caused by this virus have been reported in wild mammals (e.g., the Virginia opossum [Didelphis virginiana
]) from natural and semi-captive (e.g., zoological institution) settings. Regrettably, few recent challenge studies have been conducted on wild mammals, which would provide key information as to their potential role(s) in WNV cycles. Largely based on these recent findings, important future lines of research are recommended to assess which mammalian species are commonly exposed to WNV, which mammal species develop viremias sufficient for infecting mosquitoes, and which mammal species might be negatively affected by WNV infection at the species or population level.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited