Data from: Light pollution increases West Nile virus competence of a ubiquitous passerine reservoir species
Kernbach, Meredith et al. (2019), Data from: Light pollution increases West Nile virus competence of a ubiquitous passerine reservoir species, v2, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7v72n64
Among the many anthropogenic changes that impact humans and wildlife, one of the most pervasive but least understood is light pollution. Although detrimental physiological and behavioral effects resulting from exposure to light at night are widely appreciated, the impacts of light pollution on infectious disease risk have not been studied. Here, we demonstrate that artificial light at night (ALAN) extends the infectious-to-vector period of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus), an urban-dwelling avian reservoir host of West Nile virus (WNV). Sparrows exposed to ALAN maintained transmissible viral titers for two days longer than controls but did not experience greater WNV-induced mortality during this window. Transcriptionally, ALAN altered the expression of gene regulatory networks including key hubs (OASL, PLBD1, TRAP1) and effector genes known to affect WNV dissemination (SOCS). Despite mounting anti-viral immune responses earlier, transcriptomic signatures indicated that ALAN-exposed individuals likely experienced pathogen induced damage and immunopathology, potentially due to evasion of immune effectors. A simple mathematical modelling exercise indicated that ALAN-induced increases of host infectious-to-vector period could increase WNV outbreak potential by ~41%. ALAN likely affects other host and vector traits relevant to transmission, and additional research is needed to advise management of zoonotic diseases in light polluted areas.
National Science Foundation,