#WNV #infection in individuals with pre-existing #Usutu virus #immunity, northern #Italy, 2018 (Euro Surveill., abstract)

[Source: Eurosurveillance, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

West Nile virus infection in individuals with pre-existing Usutu virus immunity, northern Italy, 2018

Alessandro Sinigaglia1, Monia Pacenti2, Thomas Martello1, Silvana Pagni1,2, Elisa Franchin1,2, Luisa Barzon1,2

Affiliations: 1 Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy; 2 Microbiology and Virology Unit, Padova University Hospital, Padova, Italy

Correspondence:  Luisa Barzon

Citation style for this article: Sinigaglia Alessandro, Pacenti Monia, Martello Thomas, Pagni Silvana, Franchin Elisa, Barzon Luisa. West Nile virus infection in individuals with pre-existing Usutu virus immunity, northern Italy, 2018. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(21):pii=1900261. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.21.1900261

Received: 27 Apr 2019;   Accepted: 22 May 2019



In 2018, there was a large West Nile virus (WNV) outbreak in northern Italy. We observed five atypical cases of WNV infection that were characterised by the presence of WNV RNA and WNV IgG at the time of diagnosis, but no IgM response during follow-up. Neutralisation assays demonstrated pre-existing Usutu virus immunity in all patients. Besides challenging diagnosis, the immunological crosstalk between the two viruses warrants further investigation on possible cross-protection or infection enhancement effects.

©  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Keywords: WNV; Usutu virus; ADE; Italy.


#WNV and #Usutu Virus #Infections and Challenges to #Blood #Safety in the #EU (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 6—June 2019 / Perspective

West Nile and Usutu Virus Infections and Challenges to Blood Safety in the European Union

Dragoslav Domanović  , Celine M. Gossner, Ryanne Lieshout-Krikke, Wolfgang Mayr, Klara Baroti-Toth, Alina Mirella Dobrota, Maria Antonia Escoval, Olaf Henseler, Christof Jungbauer, Giancarlo Liumbruno, Salvador Oyonarte, Constantina Politis, Imad Sandid, Miljana Stojić Vidović, Johanna J. Young, Inês Ushiro-Lumb, and Norbert Nowotny

Author affiliations: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Solna, Sweden (D. Domanović, C.M. Gossner, J.J. Young); European Blood Alliance, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (R. Lieshout-Krikke); Austrian Red Cross, Vienna, Austria (W. Mayr, C. Jungbauer); National Competent Authority for Blood, Budapest, Hungary (K. Baroti-Toth); National Competent Authority for Blood, Bucharest, Romania (A.M. Dobrota); National Competent Authority for Blood, Lisbon, Portugal (M.A. Escoval); Paul Ehrlich Institute, Langen, Germany (O. Henseler); Italian National Blood Centre, National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy (G. Liumbruno); National Competent Authority for Blood, Madrid, Spain (S. Oyonarte); Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), Athens, Greece (C. Politis); National Competent Authority for Blood, Paris, France (I. Sandid); Croatian Institute for Transfusion Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia (M.S. Vidović); National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), London, UK (I. Ushiro-Lumb); University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria (N. Nowotny); Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (N. Nowotny)



West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) circulate in several European Union (EU) countries. The risk of transfusion-transmitted West Nile virus (TT-WNV) has been recognized, and preventive blood safety measures have been implemented. We summarized the applied interventions in the EU countries and assessed the safety of the blood supply by compiling data on WNV positivity among blood donors and on reported TT-WNV cases. The paucity of reported TT-WNV infections and the screening results suggest that blood safety interventions are effective. However, limited circulation of WNV in the EU and presumed underrecognition or underreporting of TT-WNV cases contribute to the present situation. Because of cross-reactivity between genetically related flaviviruses in the automated nucleic acid test systems, USUV-positive blood donations are found during routine WNV screening. The clinical relevance of USUV infection in humans and the risk of USUV to blood safety are unknown.

Keywords: Usutu virus; WNV; Blood safety; EU.


Towards high quality RT #WGS during #outbreaks using #Usutu virus as example (Infect Genet Evol., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Infect Genet Evol. 2019 Apr 20. pii: S1567-1348(19)30056-5. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.04.015. [Epub ahead of print]

Towards high quality real-time whole genome sequencing during outbreaks using Usutu virus as example.

Oude Munnink BB1, Kik M2, de Bruijn ND3, Kohl R1, van der Linden A1, Reusken CBEM1, Koopmans M4.

Author information: 1 ErasmusMC, Department of Viroscience, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 2 Veterinary Pathology Centre, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands. 3 GD Animal Health, Deventer, the Netherlands. 4 ErasmusMC, Department of Viroscience, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address: m.koopmans@erasmusmc.nl.



Recently, protocols for amplicon based whole genome sequencing using Nanopore technology have been described for Ebola virus, Zika virus, yellow fever virus and West Nile virus. However, there is some debate regarding reliability of sequencing using this technology, which is important for applications beyond diagnosis such as linking lineages to outbreaks, tracking transmission pathways and pockets of circulation, or mapping specific markers. To our knowledge, no in depth analyses of the required read coverage to compensate for the error profile in Nanopore sequencing have been described. Here, we describe the validation of a protocol for whole genome sequencing of USUV using Nanopore sequencing by direct comparison to Illumina sequencing. To that point we selected brain tissue samples with high viral loads, typical for birds which died from USUV infection. We conclude that the low-cost MinION Nanopore sequencing platform can be used for characterization and tracking of Usutu virus outbreaks.

Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.

KEYWORDS: Arboviruses; Nanopore; Sequencing; USUV

PMID: 31014969 DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.04.015

Keywords: Emerging diseases; Infectious Diseases; Diagnostic tests; Usutu virus.


Expanding #Usutu virus #circulation in #Italy: detection in the Lazio region, central Italy, 2017 to 2018 (Euro Surveill., abstract)

[Source: Eurosurveillance, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Expanding Usutu virus circulation in Italy: detection in the Lazio region, central Italy, 2017 to 2018

Fabrizio Carletti1, Francesca Colavita1, Francesca Rovida2, Elena Percivalle2, Fausto Baldanti2,3, Ida Ricci4, Claudio De Liberato4, Francesca Rosone4, Francesco Messina1, Eleonora Lalle1, Licia Bordi1, Francesco Vairo5, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi1, Giuseppe Ippolito6, Giuseppina Cappiello7, Alberto Spanò7, Silvia Meschi1, Concetta Castilletti1

Affiliations: 1 Laboratory of Virology, National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, Rome, Italy; 2 Molecular Virology Unit, Microbiology and Virology Department, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy; 3 Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy; 4 Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle regioni Lazio e Toscana, Rome, Italy; 5 Regional Service for Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases (SERESMI)-Lazio Region, National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, Rome, Italy; 6 Scientific Direction, National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, Rome, Italy; 7 Unit of Microbiology, Sandro Pertini Hospital, Rome, Italy

Correspondence: Silvia Meschisilvia.meschiinmi.it

Citation style for this article: Carletti Fabrizio, Colavita Francesca, Rovida Francesca, Percivalle Elena, Baldanti Fausto, Ricci Ida, De Liberato Claudio, Rosone Francesca, Messina Francesco, Lalle Eleonora, Bordi Licia, Vairo Francesco, Capobianchi Maria Rosaria, Ippolito Giuseppe, Cappiello Giuseppina, Spanò Alberto, Meschi Silvia, Castilletti Concetta. Expanding Usutu virus circulation in Italy: detection in the Lazio region, central Italy, 2017 to 2018. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(3):pii=1800649. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.3.1800649

Received: 03 Dec 2018;   Accepted: 16 Jan 2019



Blood donation screening for West Nile virus (WNV) was mandatory in the Lazio region in 2017 and 2018 (June-November) according to the national surveillance plan. In these years, all five donations reactive in WNV nucleic acid amplification tests harboured instead Usutu virus (USUV). Clade ‘Europe 2’ was identified in four blood donations and a 2018 mosquito pool. The cocirculation of WNV and USUV in Lazio warrants increased laboratory support and awareness of possible virus misidentification.

©  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Keywords: Arbovirus; Usutu Virus; WNV; Italy.


#Favipiravir inhibits in vitro #Usutu virus replication and delays disease progression in an #infection model in mice (Antiviral Res., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Antiviral Res. 2018 Oct 29. pii: S0166-3542(18)30467-4. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2018.10.026. [Epub ahead of print]

Favipiravir inhibits in vitro Usutu virus replication and delays disease progression in an infection model in mice.

Segura Guerrero NA1, Sharma S2, Neyts J3, Kaptein SJF2.

Author information: 1 KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Leuven, Belgium; Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Tunja, Colombia. 2 KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Leuven, Belgium. 3 KU Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address: johan.neyts@kuleuven.be.



Usutu virus (USUV) is an emerging flavivirus that causes Usutu disease mainly in birds, but infection of mammals such as rodents, bats and horses has also been demonstrated. In addition, human cases (both in immunocompromised and -competent individuals) were also reported. Large outbreaks with other flaviviruses, such as West Nile virus and Zika virus, indicate that one should be vigilant for yet other outbreaks. To allow the identification of inhibitors of USUV replication, we established in vitro antiviral assays, which were validated using a small selection of known flavivirus inhibitors, including the broad-spectrum viral RNA polymerase inhibitor favipiravir (T-705). Next, an USUV infection model in AG129 (IFN-α/β and IFN-γ receptor knockout) mice was established. AG129 mice proved highly susceptible to USUV; an inoculum as low as 102 PFU (1.3 × 105 TCID50) resulted in the development of symptoms as early as 3 days post infection with viral RNA being detectable in various tissues. Treatment of mice with favipiravir (150 mg/kg/dose, BID, oral gavage) significantly reduced viral load in blood and tissues and significantly delayed virus-induced disease. This USUV mouse model is thus amenable for assessing the potential in vivo efficacy of (novel) USUV/flavivirus inhibitors.

KEYWORDS: AG129 mice; Antivirals; Emerging flavivirus; Mouse model; Usutu virus

PMID: 30385306 DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2018.10.026

Keywords: Flavivirus; Usutu virus; Antivirals; Favipiravir; Animal models.


#Surveillance and #Diagnosis of #WestNile Virus in the Face of #Flavivirus Cross-Reactivity (Front Microbiol., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Front Microbiol. 2018 Oct 11;9:2421. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02421. eCollection 2018.

Surveillance and Diagnosis of West Nile Virus in the Face of Flavivirus Cross-Reactivity.

Lustig Y1, Sofer D1, Bucris ED1, Mendelson E1,2.

Author information: 1 Central Virology Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel. 2 School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.



West Nile Virus (WNV) is an arthropod-borne flavivirus whose zoonotic cycle includes both mosquitoes and birds as amplifiers and humans and horses as dead-end hosts. In recent years WNV has been spreading globally and is currently endemic in Africa, The Middle East, India, Australia, central and southern Europe, and the Americas. Integrated surveillance schemes and environmental data aim to detect viral circulation and reduce the risk of infection for the human population emphasizing the critical role for One Health principles in public health. Approximately 20% of WNV infected patients develop West Nile Fever while in less than 1%, infection results in West Nile Neurological Disease. Currently, the diagnosis of WNV infection is primarily based on serology, since molecular identification of WNV RNA is unreliable due to the short viremia. The recent emergence of Zika virus epidemic in America and Asia has added another layer of complexity to WNV diagnosis due to significant cross-reactivity between several members of the Flaviviridae family such as Zika, dengue, Usutu, and West Nile viruses. Diagnosis is especially challenging in persons living in regions with flavivirus co-circulation as well as in travelers from WNV endemic countries traveling to Zika or dengue infected areas or vise-versa. Here, we review the recent studies implementing WNV surveillance of mosquitoes and birds within the One Health initiative. Furthermore, we discuss the utility of novel molecular methods, alongside traditional molecular and serological methods, in WNV diagnosis and epidemiological research.

KEYWORDS: WNV; West Nile; Zika; diagnosis; flavivirus; mosquitoes; one health; surveillance

PMID: 30369916 PMCID: PMC6194321 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02421

Keywords: Flavivirus; Zika Virus; WNV; WNND; Usutu Virus; Dengue Fever.


#Serological Evidence of #Mosquito-Borne #Flaviviruses Circulation in Hunting #Dogs in #Campania Region, #Italy (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Serological Evidence of Mosquito-Borne Flaviviruses Circulation in Hunting Dogs in Campania Region, Italy

Serena Montagnaro, Diego Piantedosi, Roberto Ciarcia, Rosa Loponte, Vincenzo Veneziano, Giovanna Fusco, Maria Grazia Amoroso, Gianmarco Ferrara, Sara Damiano, Giuseppe Iovane, and Ugo Pagnini

Published Online: 30 Aug 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2018.2337



A Flavivirus survey on 183 hunting dogs was conducted in Campania region, Southern Italy. The seroprevalence value of 40.43% (74/183, 95% confidence intervals [CIs] 33.37–47.49) detected in our study using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (cELISA) proves a considerable level of Flavivirus exposition of these animals. Among the 74 cELISA-positive sera, seroneutralization (SN) test showed that 24 sera resulted positive for Usutu virus with an overall prevalence of 13.11% (24/183) (95% CI 8.27–17.95), but none of cELISA-positive samples resulted positive for West Nile virus. Data analysis showed a significant difference of cELISA seropositivity risk factors in case of presence of farm animals in contact with hunting dogs and for dogs living in a rural environment but not for gender, age, management, hunting season, and hunting abroad. A RT-PCR assay was performed to detect the Flavivirus RNA, but none of the blood samples tested positive. This study documents the first report regarding the circulation of Flavivirus in hunting dog in Southern Italy and suggests the dog as an interesting target to monitor Flavivirus circulation.

Keywords: Usutu Virus; Flavivirus; Dogs; Italy.