• TBO Staff

Ruffed Grouse In Great Lakes Region Fighting West Nile Virus

MADISON, Wis. - Thanks to the work done by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance project, the Great Lakes region is learning how local species handle the virus. In this case, the species of interest is the ruffed grouse.

Results from the blood samples collected from harvested ruffed grouse in 2019 indicate that 20% of the Wisconsin submitted samples had antibodies consistent with WNV exposure. Of these samples, 9% showed confirmed WNV and 11% showed likely exposure. None of the 188 samples had evidence of the virus present in their hearts.

"These findings indicate that while ruffed grouse are being exposed to WNV, there are birds that are surviving and clearing the virus from their bodies," said Alaina Gerrits, Wisconsin DNR Assistant Upland Game Ecologist.