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Presentation date

Summer 8-10-2023

College, Institute, or Department

College of Public Health

Faculty Mentor

Joseph R. Fauver

Research Mentor

Kaylee Herzog


The West Nile virus (WNV) has been identified as a cause of mosquito-borne illness in the continental United States (CDC, 2023). It is a member of the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the Flaviviridae family. WNV is predominantly maintained in an enzootic transmission cycle between Culex species mosquitoes and birds as vertebrate hosts. Humans and horses are considered WNV incidental hosts (a.k.a dead-end hosts) and cannot be transferred to another host. Within the last five years (2018-2022), 8,386 WNV human infection cases have been recorded. In addition, 90 WNV human infection cases have been reported in 17 different states this year. Nebraska has recorded the 4th highest total number of cases since WNV was introduced into the US. Monitoring the genetic variability of WNV will allow researchers to elucidate transmission patterns and ultimately incorporate WNV genomics into estimates of human risk. Understanding virus evolution through time requires an in-depth understanding of genomics. This research project aims to develop a more efficient and effective method for sequencing WNV genomes to better understand evolution. In addition, a novel approach was adopted to sequence WNV from mosquito pools collected in Nebraska. The results of this research suggested that the IDT xGen could potentially be used to sequence WNV from mosquito pools.


West Nile Virus, WNV, IDT xGen, Illumina MinSeq, WNV Sequencing, WNV Mutation, Nebraska West Nile Virus, 2022 West Nile Virus

A Novel Approach to Sequencing West Nile Virus Genome using IDT xGen and Illumina MiniSeq