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.


North #American #Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus are competent #vectors for #Usutu virus (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


North American Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus are competent vectors for Usutu virus

Christian L. Cook, Yan-Jang S. Huang, Amy C. Lyons, Barry W. Alto, Isik Unlu, Stephen Higgs, Dana L. Vanlandingham

Published: August 17, 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006732 / This is an uncorrected proof.




Usutu virus (USUV) is a member of the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) serocomplex in the Flaviviridae family. Emergence of USUV in Europe has led to disease burdens in birds and created increasing concern for the potential zoonotic transmission to humans. Whilst USUV has not been detected in the New World, the identification of competent vector species in North America is critical in the assessment of the likelihood of its dispersal and establishment of enzootic transmission cycles. The objective of this study was to determine vector competence of potential mosquito vectors in North America for USUV. Three medically important mosquito species were selected for testing because of their involvement in the transmission of West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis virus, two related JEV serocomplex flaviviruses in the New World.

Methodology/Principal findings

Oral challenge of Culex pipiens, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Aedes albopictus was performed to determine the susceptibility and vector competence of North American mosquitoes for USUV. Infection status was monitored by the isolation of virus from homogenized mosquito tissues. The disseminated form of infection was demonstrated by the detection of infectious virus in the head, wings, and legs of infected mosquitoes. The presence of viral RNA in saliva of infected Cx. pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus indicated that both species are competent for transmission of USUV.


Results indicate that members of the Cx. pipiens complex are susceptible to USUV and competent for its transmission potential in North America in the event of its introduction. In contrast, Ae. albopictus were highly refractory to USUV infection, suggesting that this species is unlikely to contribute to USUV transmission in North America.


Author summary

Usutu virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus maintained between avian and mosquito species. Although the pathogen has only been detected in Africa and Europe, a growing concern of its dispersal and zoonotic potential warrants the investigation on the vector competence of mosquito species outside the endemic regions for USUV. Identification of species involved in the transmission cycles allows for the formulation of disease control strategies such as vector control. As observed with West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis virus, the presence of competent vector species is critical for the establishment of enzootic transmission cycles and contributes to the viral maintenance in nature. Despite differences in the genetics and bionomics of Culex pipiens in the Old World, members of the Cx. pipiensspecies in the New World are competent for USUV based on the results of per os challenges performed in this study. Cx. pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus are capable of initiating enzootic transmission cycles in the presence of susceptible avian species and should be targeted for vector control in the event of a disease outbreak.


Citation: Cook CL, Huang Y-JS, Lyons AC, Alto BW, Unlu I, Higgs S, et al. (2018) North American Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus are competent vectors for Usutu virus. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(8): e0006732. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0006732

Editor: Eric Mossel, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, UNITED STATES

Received: April 9, 2018; Accepted: August 3, 2018; Published: August 17, 2018

Copyright: © 2018 Cook et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper.

Funding: This project is the result of funding provided by United States Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency Chemical and Biological Defense Division under contract number D15PC00276. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Usutu Virus; Mosquitoes; American Region; Culex pipiens; Culex quinquefasciatus; Aedes albopictus.


Extinction of #Zika virus and #Usutu virus by lethal #mutagenesis reveals different patterns of sensitivity to three mutagenic drugs (Antimicrob Agents Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Extinction of Zika virus and Usutu virus by lethal mutagenesis reveals different patterns of sensitivity to three mutagenic drugs

Maria Rosaria Bassi a, Raquel Navarro Sempere a, Prashansa Meyn a, Charlotta Polacek b and Armando Arias a#

Author Affiliations: Technical University of Denmark, National Veterinary Instiutute (DTU Vet), Kemitorvet, 2800 Lyngby, Denmark{a}; Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark{b}



Flaviviruses constitute an increasing source of public health concern with growing numbers of pathogens causing disease, and a geographic spread to temperate climates. Despite a large body of evidence supporting mutagenesis as a conceivable antiviral strategy, there is currently no data on the sensitivity to increased mutagenesis for Zika virus (ZIKV) and Usutu virus (USUV), two emerging flaviviral threats. In this study, we demonstrate that both viruses are sensitive to three ribonucleosides that have shown mutagenic activity against other RNA viruses – favipiravir, ribavirin and 5-fluorouracil – while they remain unaffected by a mutagenic deoxyribonucleoside. Serial cell culture passages of ZIKV in the presence of these compounds resulted in the rapid extinction of infectivity, suggesting elevated sensitivity to mutagenesis. USUV extinction was achieved when a 10-fold dilution was applied between every passage, but not in experiments involving undiluted virus, indicating an overall lower susceptibility than ZIKV. Although both viruses are inhibited by the same three drugs, ZIKV is relatively more susceptive to serial passage in the presence of purine analogues (favipiravir and ribavirin) while USUV replication is suppressed more efficiently by 5-fluorouracil. These differences in sensitivity typically correlate with the increases in the mutation frequencies observed in each nucleoside treatment. These results are relevant to the development of efficient therapies based on lethal mutagenesis, and support the rational selection of different mutagenic nucleosides for each pathogen. We will discuss the implications of these results to the fidelity of flavivirus replication, and the design of antiviral therapies based on lethal mutagenesis.



#Address correspondence to Armando Arias, arae@vet.dtu.dk

Copyright © 2018 Bassi et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Keywords: Flavivirus; Antivirals; Zika Virus; Usutu Virus; Ribavirin; Favipiravir; 5-Fluorouracil.


#Human #Usutu Virus #Infection with Atypical #Neurologic Presentation, Montpellier, #France, 2016 (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

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

Volume 24, Number 5—May 2018 / Dispatch

Human Usutu Virus Infection with Atypical Neurologic Presentation, Montpellier, France, 2016

Yannick Simonin  , Olivier Sillam, Marie J. Carles, Serafin Gutierrez, Patricia Gil, Orianne Constant, Marie F. Martin, Gilda Girard, Philippe Van de Perre, Sara Salinas, Isabelle Leparc-Goffart, and Vincent Foulongne

Author affiliations: Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France (Y. Simonin, O. Constant, M.F. Martin, P. Van de Perre, S. Salinas, V. Foulongne); Université de Montpellier Hôpital, Montpellier (O. Sillam); Nimes University Hospital, Nimes, France (M.J. Carles); Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, Montpellier (S. Gutierrez, P. Gil); Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées, Marseille, France (G. Girard, I. Leparc-Goffart)



Infection with Usutu virus (USUV) has been recently associated with neurologic disorders, such as encephalitis or meningoencephalitis, in humans. These findings indicate that USUV is a potential health threat. We report an acute human infection with USUV in France putatively associated with a clinical diagnosis of idiopathic facial paralysis.

Keywords: France; Usutu Virus; Paralysis.


A #Serosurvey of #Flavivirus #Infection in #Horses and #Birds in #Slovakia (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

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

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases

A Serosurvey of Flavivirus Infection in Horses and Birds in Slovakia

To cite this article: Csank Tomáš, Drzewnioková Petra, Korytár Ľuboš, Major Peter, Gyuranecz Miklós, Pistl Juraj, and Bakonyi Tamás. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. February 2018, ahead of print. https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2017.2216

Online Ahead of Print: February 13, 2018

Author information: Tomáš Csank,1 Petra Drzewnioková,1 Ľuboš Korytár,2 Peter Major,3 Miklós Gyuranecz,4 Juraj Pistl,1 and Tamás Bakonyi5,6

1 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy (UVMP) in Košice, Košice, Slovakia. 2 Department of Environment, Veterinary Legislation and Economy, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy (UVMP) in Košice, Košice, Slovakia. 3 Department of Clinic for Birds and Exotic Animals, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy (UVMP) in Košice, Košice, Slovakia. 4 Institute for Veterinary Medical Research, MTA Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary. 5 Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary. 6 Viral Zoonoses, Emerging and Vector-Borne Infections Group, Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Address correspondence to: Tomáš Csank, PhD, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy (UVMP) in Košice, Komenského 73, Košice 04181, Slovakia, E-mail: tomas.csank@uvlf.sk



In central Europe, at least three flaviviruses circulate among vectors and vertebrate hosts. West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) are mosquito-borne viruses maintained in the nature by enzootic cycle between mosquitoes and birds. Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a flavivirus causing annual human cases in Slovakia. The aim of this study is the prevalence assessment of flavivirus infections in horses (n = 145) and birds (n = 109) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and confirmation by neutralization test (VNT). WNV antibodies have been detected in 11.7% of tested horses and 11.9% of tested birds and confirmed in 6.9% of horse and 9.2% of bird samples. None of the WNV seropositive or dubious horses had WNV IgM (ELISA), and none of the tested horses had USUV neutralizing antibodies. Autochthonous WNV infections have been confirmed in 16.7% of horses without international travelling history. Most of them were from western Slovakia with known endemic WNV transmission. An autochthonous WNV infection in a horse from highland area of Kremnické vrchy (central Slovakia) with unknown data of WNV circulation and without travelling history was detected. TBEV antibody was detected in 6.2% of horses and in 3.4% has been confirmed. In two horses, WNV and TBEV infection could not be distinguished. Confirmed WNV seropositive were eight raptors showing nonspecific signs or suffering from trauma, one white stork, and one house sparrow. The sparrow was caught in a locality in eastern Slovakia, where WNV RNA had been previously detected in sparrows. USUV neutralizing antibodies were present in pooled sample from four Eurasian great tits. Because of insufficient volume, TBEV VNT was not carried out in birds. Results further prove the endemicity of WNV and other vector-borne flaviviruses in natural and accidental hosts in Slovakia, giving better insight in flavivirus epidemiology in European countries in general.

Keywords: Slovakia; Flavivirus; WNV; Usutu Virus; TBEV; Horses; Wild birds.


#Distribution of #Usutu Virus in #Germany and Its #Effect on #Breeding #Bird #Populations (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

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

Volume 23, Number 12—December 2017 / Research

Distribution of Usutu Virus in Germany and Its Effect on Breeding Bird Populations

Renke Lühken  , Hanna Jöst, Daniel Cadar, Stephanie Margarete Thomas, Stefan Bosch, Egbert Tannich, Norbert Becker, Ute Ziegler, Lars Lachmann, and Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit

Author affiliations: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Hamburg, Germany (R. Lühken, H. Jöst, D. Cadar, E. Tannich, J. Schmidt-Chanasit); German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), partner site Hamburg-Luebeck-Borstel, Hamburg (H. Jöst, E. Tannich, J. Schmidt-Chanasit); University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany (S. Margarete Thomas); Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Stuttgart, Germany (S. Bosch); Institute for Dipterology, Speyer, Germany (N. Becker); University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany (N. Becker); Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany (U. Ziegler); Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Berlin, Germany (L. Lachmann)



Usutu virus (USUV) is an emerging mosquitoborne flavivirus with an increasing number of reports from several countries in Europe, where USUV infection has caused high avian mortality rates. However, 20 years after the first observed outbreak of USUV in Europe, there is still no reliable assessment of the large-scale impact of USUV outbreaks on bird populations. In this study, we identified the areas suitable for USUV circulation in Germany and analyzed the effects of USUV on breeding bird populations. We calculated the USUV-associated additional decline of common blackbird (Turdus merula) populations as 15.7% inside USUV-suitable areas but found no significant effect for the other 14 common bird species investigated. Our results show that the emergence of USUV is a further threat for birds in Europe and that the large-scale impact on population levels, at least for common blackbirds, must be considered.

Keywords: Usutu Virus; Flavivirus; Wild Birds.


#Usutu virus #infections among #blood #donors, #Austria, July and August 2017 – Raising awareness for diagnostic challenges (Euro Surveill., abstract)

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

Usutu virus infections among blood donors, Austria, July and August 2017 – Raising awareness for diagnostic challenges

Tamás Bakonyi1,2,3, Christof Jungbauer3,4, Stephan W. Aberle3,5, Jolanta Kolodziejek1, Katharina Dimmel1, Karin Stiasny5, Franz Allerberger6, Norbert Nowotny1,3,7

Affiliations: 1 Viral Zoonoses, Emerging and Vector-Borne Infections Group, Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 2 Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary; 3 These authors contributed equally to this article and share first authorship; 4 Austrian Red Cross, Blood Service for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, Vienna, Austria; 5 Center for Virology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 6 Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Vienna, Austria; 7 Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence: Norbert Nowotnynorbert.nowotny mbru.ac.ae

Citation style for this article: Bakonyi Tamás, Jungbauer Christof, Aberle Stephan W., Kolodziejek Jolanta, Dimmel Katharina, Stiasny Karin, Allerberger Franz, Nowotny Norbert. Usutu virus infections among blood donors, Austria, July and August 2017 – Raising awareness for diagnostic challenges. Euro Surveill. 2017;22(41):pii=17-00644. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.41.17-00644 Received: 19 Sep 2017;   Accepted: 12 Oct 2017



Between July and August 2017, seven of 12,047 blood donations from eastern Austria, reacted positive to West Nile virus (WNV) in the cobas test (Roche). Follow-up investigations revealed Usutu virus (USUV) nucleic acid in six of these. Retrospective analyses of four blood donors diagnosed as WNV-infected in 2016 showed one USUV positive. Blood transfusion services and public health authorities in USUV-endemic areas should be aware of a possible increase of human USUV infections.

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

Keywords: Usutu Virus; Austria.