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NYC Virus Hunters - Working together to prevent the next pandemic

What viruses are circulating in NYC's urban wild bird population?


Karla Azcona, Daneidy Burgos, Mariama Diallo, Aaron Huang, William Kim


Christine Marizzi, Philip Meade

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New York City Virus Hunters is an ongoing Community Science Initiative and the first safe, large-scale effort to screen for avian influenza (AIV) and avian paramyxoviruses (APMV) in New York City’s wild birds.

Local public high school students collect fecal and swab samples in the field and screen them via Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for the presence of those viruses under expert mentorship. The initiative identified the first APMV-1 sequences ever found in New York City birds and published a paper in Microbiology Spectrum, making all data available for researchers worldwide.

Community Scientists such as the New York City Virus Hunters are untapped drivers for research advancement in infectious disease surveillance and communication of public health practices to the public. Our work that illustrates the increasing relevance of One Health research and community engagement to both wildlife management and public health.

This page was originally developed by BioBus Summer 2021 Jr. Scientist William Rhee.

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