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Viruses 2015, 7(1), 219-238; doi:10.3390/v7010219

Usutu Virus: An Emerging Flavivirus in Europe

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1
State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China
2
Laboratory of Animal Virology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China
3
Laboratory of development of Veterinary Diagnostic Products, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Karyn Johnson
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
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Abstract

Usutu virus (USUV) is an African mosquito-borne flavivirus belonging to the Japanese encephalitis virus serocomplex. USUV is closely related to Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus. USUV was discovered in South Africa in 1959. In Europe, the first true demonstration of circulation of USUV was reported in Austria in 2001 with a significant die-off of Eurasian blackbirds. In the subsequent years, USUV expanded to neighboring countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, England, Czech Republic, Greece, and Belgium, where it caused unusual mortality in birds. In 2009, the first two human cases of USUV infection in Europe have been reported in Italy, causing meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. This review describes USUV in terms of its life cycle, USUV surveillance from Africa to Europe, human cases, its cellular tropism and pathogenesis, its genetic relationship with other flaviviruses, genetic diversity among USUV strains, its diagnosis, and a discussion of the potential future threat to Asian countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: Usutu virus; SouthAfrica-1959; Austria; Culex pipiens; Turdus merula Usutu virus; SouthAfrica-1959; Austria; Culex pipiens; Turdus merula
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ashraf, U.; Ye, J.; Ruan, X.; Wan, S.; Zhu, B.; Cao, S. Usutu Virus: An Emerging Flavivirus in Europe. Viruses 2015, 7, 219-238.

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