The Camargue area of southern France experienced the re-emergence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the late summer of 2000 and 2004. Immediately preceding the 2004 outbreak, samples were collected from 432 birds of 32 different species captured in mist nets and from 201 Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) nestlings sampled in their nests between 1 April and 12 June 2004. West Nile virus neutralizing titers of ≥40 were detected in 4.8% (95% confidence limit, 2.9–7.5%) of the adult birds and in 1.6% (0.3–4.6%) of the egret nestlings. Migratory passerines had a higher prevalence of WNV neutralizing antibodies (7.0%) than did resident and short-distance migratory passerines (0.8%), suggesting exposure to WNV or a related flavivirus during overwintering in Africa.
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Vol. 44 • No. 3