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Putative Lineage of Novel African Usutu Virus, Central Europe - Volume 21, Number 9—September 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC


Putative Lineage of Novel African Usutu Virus, Central Europe - Volume 21, Number 9—September 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Volume 21, Number 9—September 2015


Putative Lineage of Novel African Usutu Virus, Central Europe

Daniel Cadar, Stefan Bosch, Hanna Jöst, Jessica Börstler, Mutien-Marie Garigliany, Norbert Becker, and Jonas Schmidt-ChanasitComments to Author 
Author affiliations: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany (D. Cadar, H. Jöst, J. Börstler, M.-M. Garigliany, J. Schmidt-Chanasit)Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, Stuttgart, Germany (S. Bosch)University of Liège, Liège, Belgium (M.-M. Garigliany)German Mosquito Control Association, Speyer, Germany (N. Becker)German Centre for Infection Research, Hamburg (H. Jöst, J. Schmidt-Chanasit)


We characterized the complete genome of a putative novel Usutu virus (USUV) strain (Usutu-BONN) detected in a dead blackbird from Germany. Genomic analysis revealed several unique amino acid substitutions among the polyprotein gene. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that Usutu-BONN constitutes a putative novel African USUV lineage, which was probably recently introduced to central Europe.
Originally isolated from a Culex neavei mosquito in South Africa in 1959 (1,2), Usutu virus (USUV) was subsequently detected in different mosquito and bird species throughout Sub-Saharan countries (3). USUV has recently been introduced to Europe, where it caused widespread deaths among resident bird populations, established a local transmission cycle, and became a resident pathogen (46). USUV is maintained in an enzootic cycle involving mosquitoes as vectors and birds as the main amplifying hosts; humans are considered incidental or dead-end hosts. We have demonstrated that bats could also be infected with USUV and might act as amplifying hosts (7), and there is increasing evidence that USUV is pathogenic for humans, thus becoming a potential public health problem (8,9). On the basis of genetic differences, in comparison with the USUV strains from Africa, the USUV strains from Europe, except those from Spain, form a distinct clade within USUV phylogeny (7). The detection and isolation of USUV from different bird species and mammalophilic mosquitoes during the 2011 epizootic in Germany raised questions regarding the USUV host range. Thus, as a part of the German Arbovirus Surveillance Program (10), we continued the monitoring of the mosquitoes, birds, and bats for the presence of USUV.
Dr. Cadar is a postdoctoral researcher at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany. His research interests include the arbovirus ecology, evolutionary genetics of viral emergence, and arbovirus discovery.


We thank Alexandra Bialonski, Martin Rudolf, Claudia Poggensee, Mathis Petersen, Birgit Hüsing, Corinna Thomè, and Sabine Köhler for excellent technical assistance.


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Suggested citation for this article: Cadar D, Bosch S, Jöst H, Börstler J, Garigliany MM, Becker N, et al. Putative lineage of novel African Usutu virus, central Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Sep [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2109.142026
DOI: 10.3201/eid2109.142026

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