Recommendations for  West Nile Virus Vaccination

Several institutions have inquired about west nile virus (WNV) vaccination in this species.  Since only preliminary data is available regarding use of the equine product for vaccination of avian species, I am reluctant to recommend vaccination at this time.  I would suggest opportunistic plasma titer checks be performed.  Samples (serum or plasma, 0.25mls minimum) can be submitted to Cornell University (no charge, part of zoo surveillance program, samples run by priority of disease, variable turnaround time) or Tamp Arbovirus lab (please contact me for information, 7 day turnaround time) 

I have not been notified of any Guam rails that have tested positive for WNV.  It is recognized that other gruiformes (including Virginia rail) have tested positive with species variability within a genus. 

If WNV vaccination is an essential part of your program due to high prevalence of the disease at your institution, then I encourage a vaccine protocol that follows to the most current preliminary results of post- vaccine immune response trials.  Evidence suggests that 1 ml of the equine vaccine IM once and boosters twice at 2-3 week intervals totaling 3 (1ml) doses may be necessary for a notable immune response.