Transovarial antibody transfer in owls has not been demonstrated for West Nile virus (WNV). We sampled chicks from captive adult WNV-antibody-positive Eastern Screech-Owls (Megascops asio) to evaluate the prevalence of transovarial maternal antibody transfer, as well as titers and duration of maternal antibodies. Twenty-four owlets aged 1 to 27 days old circulated detectable antibodies with neutralizing antibody titers ranging from 20 to 1600 (median 1:40). Demonstrating that WNV antibodies are passively transferred transovarially is important for accurate interpretation of serologic data from young birds.
Additional publication details
Passive West Nile virus antibody transfer from maternal Eastern Screech-Owls (Megascops asio) to progeny