Brian H Bird

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States

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Publications (32)132.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: No antiviral therapies are available for the tick-borne flaviviruses associated with hemorrhagic fevers: Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV), both classical and the Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus (AHFV) subtype, and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus (OHFV). We tested compounds reported to have antiviral activity against members of the Flaviviridae family for their ability to inhibit AHFV replication. 6-azauridine (6-azaU), 2' -C-methylcytidine (2' -CMC), and interferon-α2a (IFNα) inhibited the replication of AHFV and also KFDV, OHFV and Powassan virus. The combination of IFNα and 2' -CMC exerted an additive antiviral effect on AHFV and the combination of IFNα and 6-azaU was moderately synergistic. The combination of 2' -CMC and 6-azaU was complex, being strongly synergistic but with a moderate level of antagonism. The antiviral activity of 6-azaU was reduced by the addition of cytidine, but not guanosine, suggesting that it acted by inhibiting pyrimidine biosynthesis. To investigate the mechanism of action of 2' -CMC, AHFV variants with reduced susceptibility to 2' -CMC were selected. We used a replicon system to assess the substitutions present in the selected AHFV population. A double NS5 mutant S603T/C666S and a triple mutant S603T/C666S/M644V were more resistant to 2' -CMC than the wild-type replicon. The S603T/C666S mutant had a reduced level of replication which was increased when M644V was also present, though the replication of this triple mutant was still below that of wild-type. The S603 and C666 residues were predicted to lie in the active site of the AHFV NS5 polymerase, implicating the catalytic center of the enzyme as the binding site for 2' -CMC.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/2014; · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, we investigated the role of the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) virulence genes NSs and NSm in mosquitoes and demonstrated that deletion of NSm significantly reduced the infection, dissemination, and transmission rates of RVFV in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The specific aim of this study was to further characterize midgut infection and escape barriers of RVFV in Ae. aegypti infected with reverse genetics-generated wild type RVFV (rRVF-wt) or RVFV lacking the NSm virulence gene (rRVF-ΔNSm) by examining sagittal sections of infected mosquitoes for viral antigen at various time points post-infection. Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were fed an infectious blood meal containing either rRVF-wt or rRVF-ΔNSm. On days 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 post-infection, mosquitoes from each experimental group were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde, paraffin-embedded, sectioned, and examined for RVFV antigen by immunofluorescence assay. Remaining mosquitoes at day 14 were assayed for infection, dissemination, and transmission. Disseminated infections were observed in mosquitoes as early as three days post infection for both virus strains. However, infection rates for rRVF-ΔNSm were statistically significantly less than for rRVF-wt. Posterior midgut infections in mosquitoes infected with rRVF-wt were extensive, whereas midgut infections of mosquitoes infected with rRVF-ΔNSm were confined to one or a few small foci. Deletion of NSm resulted in the reduced ability of RVFV to enter, replicate, and disseminate from the midgut epithelial cells. NSm appears to have a functional role in the vector competence of mosquitoes for RVFV at the level of the midgut barrier.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 02/2014; 8(2):e2670. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2012, a female wildlife biologist experienced fever, malaise, headache, generalized myalgia and arthralgia, neck stiffness, and a sore throat shortly after returning to the United States from a 6-week field expedition to South Sudan and Uganda. She was hospitalized, after which a maculopapular rash developed and became confluent. When the patient was discharged from the hospital on day 14, arthralgia and myalgia had improved, oropharynx ulcerations had healed, the rash had resolved without desquamation, and blood counts and hepatic enzyme levels were returning to reference levels. After several known suspect pathogens were ruled out as the cause of her illness, deep sequencing and metagenomics analysis revealed a novel paramyxovirus related to rubula-like viruses isolated from fruit bats.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 02/2014; 20(2):211-6. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nipah virus (NiV) continues to cause outbreaks of fatal human encephalitis due to spillover from its bat reservoir. We determined that a single dose of replication-defective vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based vaccine vectors expressing either the NiV fusion (F) or attachment (G) glycoproteins protected hamsters from over 1000 times LD50 NiV challenge. This highly effective single-dose protection coupled with an enhanced safety profile makes these candidates ideal for potential use in livestock and humans.
    Antiviral research 10/2013; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2012, an unprecedented number of four distinct, partially overlapping filovirus-associated viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks were detected in equatorial Africa. Analysis of complete virus genome sequences confirmed the reemergence of Sudan virus and Marburg virus in Uganda, and the first emergence of Bundibugyo virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Virology 05/2013; · 3.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lujo virus (LUJV) is a novel member of the Arenaviridae family that was first identified in 2008 after an outbreak of severe hemorrhagic fever (HF). In what was a small but rapidly progressing outbreak, this previously unknown virus was transmitted from the critically ill index patient to 4 attending healthcare workers. Four persons died during this outbreak, for a total case fatality of 80% (4/5). The suspected rodent source of the initial exposure to LUJV remains a mystery. Because of the ease of transmission, high case fatality, and novel nature of LUJV, we sought to establish an animal model of LUJV HF. Initial attempts in mice failed, but infection of inbred strain 13/N guinea pigs resulted in lethal disease. A total of 41 adult strain 13/N guinea pigs were infected with either wild-type LUJV or a full-length recombinant LUJV. Results demonstrated that strain 13/N guinea pigs provide an excellent model of severe and lethal LUJV HF that closely resembles what is known of the human disease. All infected animals experienced consistent weight loss (3-5% per day) and clinical illness characterized by ocular discharge, ruffled fur, hunched posture, and lethargy. Uniform lethality occurred by 11-16 days post-infection. All animals developed disseminated LUJV infection in various organs (liver, spleen, lung, and kidney), and leukopenia, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, coagulopathy, and elevated transaminase levels. Serial euthanasia studies revealed a temporal pattern of virus dissemination and increasing severity of disease, primarily targeting the liver, spleen, lungs, and lower gastrointestinal tract. Establishing an animal LUJV model is an important first step towards understanding the high pathogenicity of LUJV and developing vaccines and antiviral therapeutic drugs for this highly transmissible and lethal emerging pathogen.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 08/2012; 6(8):e1801. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arenaviruses are rodent-borne viruses with a bisegmented RNA genome. A genetically unique arenavirus, Lujo virus, was recently discovered as the causal agent of a nosocomial outbreak of acute febrile illness with hemorrhagic manifestations in Zambia and South Africa. The outbreak had a case fatality rate of 80%. A reverse genetics system to rescue infectious Lujo virus from cDNA was established to investigate the biological properties of this virus. Sequencing the genomic termini showed unique nucleotides at the 3' terminus of the S segment promoter element. While developing this system, we discovered that reconstructing infectious Lujo virus using the previously reported L segment intergenic region (IGR), comprising the arenaviral transcription termination signal, yielded an attenuated Lujo virus. Resequencing revealed that the correct L segment IGR was 36 nucleotides longer, and incorporating it into the reconstructed Lujo virus restored the growth rate to that of the authentic clinical virus isolate. These additional nucleotides were predicted to more than double the free energy of the IGR main stem-loop structure. In addition, incorporating the newly determined L-IGR into a replicon reporter system enhanced the expression of a luciferase reporter L segment. Overall, these results imply that an extremely stable secondary structure within the L-IGR is critical for Lujo virus propagation and viral protein production. The technology for producing recombinant Lujo virus now provides a method to precisely investigate the molecular determinants of virulence of this newly identified pathogen.
    Journal of Virology 07/2012; 86(19):10759-65. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus is an arthropod-borne human and animal pathogen responsible for large outbreaks of acute and febrile illness throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Reverse genetics technology has been used to develop deletion mutants of the virus that lack the NSs and/or NSm virulence genes and have been shown to be stable, immunogenic and protective against Rift Valley fever virus infection in animals. We assessed the potential for these deletion mutant viruses to infect and be transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are the principal vectors for maintenance of the virus in nature and emergence of virus initiating disease outbreaks, and by Culex mosquitoes which are important amplification vectors. Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes were fed bloodmeals containing the deletion mutant viruses. Two weeks post-exposure mosquitoes were assayed for infection, dissemination, and transmission. In Ae. aegypti, infection and transmission rates of the NSs deletion virus were similar to wild type virus while dissemination rates were significantly reduced. Infection and dissemination rates for the NSm deletion virus were lower compared to wild type. Virus lacking both NSs and NSm failed to infect Ae. aegypti. In Cx. quinquefasciatus, infection rates for viruses lacking NSm or both NSs and NSm were lower than for wild type virus. In both species, deletion of NSm or both NSs and NSm reduced the infection and transmission potential of the virus. Deletion of both NSs and NSm resulted in the highest level of attenuation of virus replication. Deletion of NSm alone was sufficient to nearly abolish infection in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, indicating an important role for this protein. The double deleted viruses represent an ideal vaccine profile in terms of environmental containment due to lack of ability to efficiently infect and be transmitted by mosquitoes.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 05/2012; 6(5):e1639. · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Brian H Bird, Stuart T Nichol
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen of livestock and humans that causes widespread and devastating outbreaks of severe and often fatal disease throughout Africa and portions of the Arabian Peninsula. Outbreaks can involve tens to hundreds of thousands of human cases, and millions of livestock. The severity of the disease varies by species, but in sheep and cattle 'abortion storms', high neonatal (∼70%), and adult mortality (20-30%) are features. Human cases are generally self-limiting, but severe complications such as hepatitis, retinitis, delayed-onset encephalitis, or a hemorrhagic syndrome with a case fatality of 10-20% can occur. There are no commercially available human vaccines. Livestock provide key ecological links between the Aedes sp. mosquito vector and humans. High viremias in livestock lead to spillover of RVFV into other anthrophillic vectors (Culex and Anopheles sp. mosquitoes), and, importantly, close contact with infected animal tissues and fluids or aborted fetal materials from these animals is a major risk factor for severe and lethal human infections. Vaccination programs targeting livestock during non-epidemic periods or as an early countermeasure against nascent outbreaks could therefore eliminate one of the main sources of human infection and limit the overall scope of epidemics. To this end, research groups have recently reported novel next generation RVFV vaccines that are safe for use in pregnant and young animals. Preventing RVFV infection of livestock by vaccination is a key element in breaking the chain of human epidemics, and could lead to control of this significant public health threat.
    Current opinion in virology. 03/2012; 2(3):315-23.
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes outbreaks of severe disease in people and livestock throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The potential for RVFV introduction outside the area of endemicity highlights the need for fast-acting, safe, and efficacious vaccines. Here, we demonstrate a robust system for the reverse genetics generation of a RVF virus replicon particle (VRP(RVF)) vaccine candidate. Using a mouse model, we show that VRP(RVF) immunization provides the optimal balance of safety and single-dose robust efficacy. VRP(RVF) can actively synthesize viral RNA and proteins but lacks structural glycoprotein genes, preventing spread within immunized individuals and reducing the risk of vaccine-induced pathogenicity. VRP(RVF) proved to be completely safe following intracranial inoculation of suckling mice, a stringent test of vaccine safety. Single-dose subcutaneous immunization with VRP(RVF), although it is highly attenuated, completely protected mice against a virulent RVFV challenge dose which was 100,000-fold greater than the 50% lethal dose (LD(50)). Robust protection from lethal challenge was observed by 24 h postvaccination, with 100% protection induced in as little as 96 h. We show that a single subcutaneous VRP(RVF) immunization initiated a systemic antiviral state followed by an enhanced adaptive response. These data contrast sharply with the much-reduced survivability and immune responses observed among animals immunized with nonreplicating viral particles, indicating that replication, even if confined to the initially infected cells, contributes substantially to protective efficacy at early and late time points postimmunization. These data demonstrate that replicon vaccines successfully bridge the gap between safety and efficacy and provide insights into the kinetics of antiviral protection from RVFV infection.
    Journal of Virology 02/2012; 86(8):4204-12. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus (RVFV) can cause severe human disease characterized by either acute-onset hepatitis, delayed-onset encephalitis, retinitis and blindness, or a hemorrhagic syndrome. The existing nonhuman primate (NHP) model for RVF utilizes an intravenous (i.v.) exposure route in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Severe disease in these animals is infrequent, and large cohorts are needed to observe significant morbidity and mortality. To overcome these drawbacks, we evaluated the infectivity and pathogenicity of RVFV in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) by i.v., subcutaneous (s.c.), and intranasal exposure routes to more closely mimic natural exposure. Marmosets were more susceptible to RVFV than rhesus macaques and experienced higher rates of morbidity, mortality, and viremia and marked aberrations in hematological and chemistry values. An overwhelming infection of hepatocytes was a major consequence of infection of marmosets by the i.v. and s.c. exposure routes. Additionally, these animals displayed signs of hemorrhagic manifestations and neurological impairment. Based on our results, the common marmoset model more closely resembles severe human RVF disease and is therefore an ideal model for the evaluation of potential vaccines and therapeutics.
    Journal of Virology 12/2011; 86(4):2109-20. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne human and veterinary pathogen causing large outbreaks of severe disease throughout Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Safe and effective vaccines are critically needed, especially those that can be used in a targeted one-health approach to prevent both livestock and human disease. We report here on the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the ΔNSs-ΔNSm recombinant RVFV (rRVFV) vaccine (which lacks the NSs and NSm virulence factors) in a total of 41 sheep, including 29 timed-pregnant ewes. This vaccine was proven safe and immunogenic for adult animals at doses ranging from 1.0 × 10(3) to 1.0 × 10(5) PFU administered subcutaneously (s.c.). Pregnant animals were vaccinated with 1.0 × 10(4) PFU s.c. at day 42 of gestation, when fetal sensitivity to RVFV vaccine-induced teratogenesis is highest. No febrile reactions, clinical illness, or pregnancy loss was observed following vaccination. Vaccination resulted in a rapid increase in anti-RVFV IgM (day 4) and IgG (day 7) titers. No seroconversion occurred in cohoused control animals. A subset of 20 ewes progressed to full-term delivery after vaccination. All lambs were born without musculoskeletal, neurological, or histological birth defects. Vaccine efficacy was assessed in 9 pregnant animals challenged at day 122 of gestation with virulent RVFV (1.0 × 10(6) PFU intravenously). Following challenge, 100% (9/9) of the animals were protected, progressed to full term, and delivered healthy lambs. As expected, all 3 sham-vaccinated controls experienced viremia, fetal death, and abortion postchallenge. These results demonstrate that the ΔNSs-ΔNSm rRVFV vaccine is safe and nonteratogenic and confers high-level protection in sheep.
    Journal of Virology 12/2011; 85(24):12901-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus (AHFV) and Kyasanur forest disease virus (KFDV) cause significant human disease and mortality in Saudi Arabia and India, respectively. Despite their distinct geographic ranges, AHFV and KFDV share a remarkably high sequence identity. Given its emergence decades after KFDV, AHFV has since been considered a variant of KFDV and thought to have arisen from an introduction of KFDV to Saudi Arabia from India. To gain a better understanding of the evolutionary history of AHFV and KFDV, we analyzed the full length genomes of 16 AHFV and 3 KFDV isolates. Viral genomes were sequenced and compared to two AHFV sequences available in GenBank. Sequence analyses revealed higher genetic diversity within AHFVs isolated from ticks than human AHFV isolates. A Bayesian coalescent phylogenetic analysis demonstrated an ancient divergence of AHFV and KFDV of approximately 700 years ago. The high sequence diversity within tick populations and the presence of competent tick vectors in the surrounding regions, coupled with the recent identification of AHFV in Egypt, indicate possible viral range expansion or a larger geographic range than previously thought. The divergence of AHFV from KFDV nearly 700 years ago suggests other AHFV/KFDV-like viruses might exist in the regions between Saudi Arabia and India. Given the human morbidity and mortality associated with these viruses, these results emphasize the importance of more focused study of these significant public health threats.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10/2011; 5(10):e1352. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Candid1, a live-attenuated Junin virus vaccine strain, was developed during the early 1980s to control Argentine hemorrhagic fever, a severe and frequently fatal human disease. Six amino acid substitutions were found to be unique to this vaccine strain, and their role in virulence attenuation in mice was analyzed using a series of recombinant viruses. Our results indicate that Candid1 is attenuated in mice through a single amino acid substitution in the transmembrane domain of the G2 glycoprotein. This work provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of attenuation of the only arenavirus vaccine currently available.
    Journal of Virology 07/2011; 85(19):10404-8. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lassa virus (LASV), is a significant cause of severe, often fatal, hemorrhagic fever in humans throughout western Africa, with an estimated 100,000 infections each year. No vaccines are commercially available. We report the development of an efficient reverse genetics system to rescue recombinant LASV and to investigate the contributions of the long 5' and 3' noncoding regions (NCRs) of the S genomic segment to in vitro growth and in vivo virulence. This work demonstrates that deletions of large portions of these NCRs confer an attenuated phenotype and are a first step toward further insights into the high virulence of LASV.
    Journal of Virology 02/2011; 85(8):4020-4. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Equine herpesvirus-2 (EHV-2) infection has been implicated as a cause of a variety of clinical disorders in young horses, including upper respiratory tract disease, generalized malaise, fever, pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia, and lymphadenopathy. Considerable sequence heterogeneity has been demonstrated previously among EHV-2 strains, and individual horses can be concurrently infected with more than one virus strain. In this study, the temporal variation of the viral load and genomic diversity of the glycoprotein B (gB) gene of EHV-2 in the nasal secretions of a cohort of foals was characterized during the first 5 months of life. The viral load in nasal secretions of foals peaked when the foals were approximately 3 months old, and there was notable genetic heterogeneity of the gB gene, both among foals and within individuals. Furthermore, there was evidence of positive selection of EHV-2 variants with unique amino acid sequences at specific sites of gB.
    Veterinary Microbiology 01/2011; 147(3-4):253-61. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Arenaviridae are a diverse and globally distributed collection of viruses that are maintained primarily by rodent reservoirs. Junin virus (JUNV) and Lassa virus (LASV) can both cause significant outbreaks of severe and often fatal human disease throughout their respective areas of endemicity. In an effort to improve upon the existing live attenuated JUNV Candid1 vaccine, we generated a genetically homogenous stock of this virus from cDNA copies of the virus S and L segments by using a reverse genetics system. Further, these cDNAs were used in combination with LASV cDNAs to successfully generate two recombinant Candid1 JUNV/LASV chimeric viruses (via envelope glycoprotein [GPC] exchange). It was found that while the GPC extravirion domains were readily exchangeable, homologous stable signal peptide (SSP) and G2 transmembrane and cytoplasmic tail domains were essential for correct GPC maturation and production of infectious chimeric viruses. The switching of the JUNV and LASV G1/G2 ectodomains within the Candid1 vaccine background did not alter the attenuated phenotype of the vaccine strain in a lethal mouse model. These recombinant chimeric viruses shed light on the fundamental requirements of arenavirus GPC maturation and may serve as a strategy for the development of bivalent JUNV and LASV vaccine candidates.
    Journal of Virology 10/2010; 85(1):112-22. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne RNA virus responsible for outbreaks of severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. Although CCHF was first detected in the 1940s, high levels of genomic diversity argue against a recent origin. Here, Bayesian coalescent analyses were used to estimate the rate of evolution and relative age of the virus. A total of 43 S, 34 M, and 23 L segment sequences from samples collected between 1956 and 2005 were analyzed from across the broad geographic range of the virus. Using a relaxed molecular clock model, nucleotide substitutions were estimated to have occurred at a rate of 1.09x10(-4), 1.52x10(-4), and 0.58x10(-4) substitutions/site/year for the S, M, and L segments, respectively. The most recent common ancestor of the viruses existed approximately 3100-3500 years before present, or around 1500-1100 BC. Changes in agricultural practices and climate occurring near the time of the most recent common ancestor of CCHFV may have contributed to its emergence and spread.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 06/2010; 55(3):1103-10. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever(RVF) virus is an arbovirus in the Bunyaviridae family that, from phylogenetic analysis, appears to have first emerged in the mid-19th century and was only identified at the beginning of the 1930's in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Despite being an arbovirus with a relatively simple but temporally and geographically stable genome, this zoonotic virus has already demonstrated a real capacity for emerging in new territories, as exemplified by the outbreaks in Egypt (1977), Western Africa (1988) and the Arabian Peninsula (2000), or for re-emerging after long periods of silence as observed very recently in Kenya and South Africa. The presence of competent vectors in countries previously free of RVF, the high viral titres in viraemic animals and the global changes in climate, travel and trade all contribute to make this virus a threat that must not be neglected as the consequences of RVF are dramatic, both for human and animal health. In this review, we present the latest advances in RVF virus research. In spite of this renewed interest, aspects of the epidemiology of RVF virus are still not fully understood and safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus.
    Veterinary Research 01/2010; 41(6):61. · 3.43 Impact Factor
  • Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 05/2009; 234(7):883-93. · 1.72 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

854 Citations
132.82 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2012
    • University of California, Davis
      • • School of Veterinary Medicine
      • • Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (VM)
      Davis, California, United States
  • 2008–2011
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      • Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology
      Atlanta, MI, United States
  • 2007
    • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
      Maryland, United States
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Epidemiology
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2005
    • The Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis
      Genève, Geneva, Switzerland