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West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus Monitoring of Wild Birds in Germany

Friedrich-Loeffler Insitut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Südufer 10, D-17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany
Clinic for Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Frankfurter Straße 91, D-35392 Giessen, Germany
Clinic for Small Mammals, Reptiles and Birds, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bünteweg 9, D-30559 Hannover, Germany
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Small Animal Clinic, Freie Universität Berlin, Oertzenweg 19 b, D-14163 Berlin, Germany
Clinic for Birds, Small Mammals, Reptiles and Ornamental Fish, Centre for Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Sonnenstraße 18, D-85764 Oberschleißheim, Germany
Birds of Prey Rehab Center Rhineland (Greifvogelhilfe Rheinland), Roermonder Straße 34, D-41379 Brüggen, Germany
Wildtier-und Artenschutzstation, Hohe Warte 1, D-31553 Sachsenhagen, Germany
Seehundstation Nationalpark-Haus Norden-Norddeich, Dörper Weg 24, D-26506 Norden, Germany
Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, WHO Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, Bernhardt-Nocht Straße 74, D-20359 Hamburg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 171;
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) Research, Management and Response)
By systematically setting up a unique nation-wide wild bird surveillance network, we monitored migratory and resident birds for zoonotic arthropod-borne virus infections, such as the flaviviruses West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV). More than 1900 wild bird blood samples, from 20 orders and 136 different bird species, were collected between 2014 and 2016. Samples were investigated by WNV and USUV-specific real-time polymerase chain reactions as well as by differentiating virus neutralization tests. Dead bird surveillance data, obtained from organ investigations in 2016, were also included. WNV-specific RNA was not detected, whereas four wild bird blood samples tested positive for USUV-specific RNA. Additionally, 73 USUV-positive birds were detected in the 2016 dead bird surveillance. WNV neutralizing antibodies were predominantly found in long-distance, partial and short-distance migrants, while USUV neutralizing antibodies were mainly detected in resident wild bird species, preferentially with low seroprevalences. To date, WNV-specific RNA has neither been detected in wild birds, nor in mosquitoes, thus, we conclude that WNV is not yet present in Germany. Continued wild bird and mosquito monitoring studies are essential to detect the incursion of zoonotic viruses and to allow risk assessments for zoonotic pathogens. View Full-Text
Keywords: West Nile virus; Usutu virus; wild bird; monitoring; network; Germany West Nile virus; Usutu virus; wild bird; monitoring; network; Germany
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MDPI and ACS Style

Michel, F.; Fischer, D.; Eiden, M.; Fast, C.; Reuschel, M.; Müller, K.; Rinder, M.; Urbaniak, S.; Brandes, F.; Schwehn, R.; Lühken, R.; Groschup, M.H.; Ziegler, U. West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus Monitoring of Wild Birds in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 171.

AMA Style

Michel F, Fischer D, Eiden M, Fast C, Reuschel M, Müller K, Rinder M, Urbaniak S, Brandes F, Schwehn R, Lühken R, Groschup MH, Ziegler U. West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus Monitoring of Wild Birds in Germany. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018; 15(1):171.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Michel, Friederike, Dominik Fischer, Martin Eiden, Christine Fast, Maximilian Reuschel, Kerstin Müller, Monika Rinder, Sylvia Urbaniak, Florian Brandes, Rebekka Schwehn, Renke Lühken, Martin H. Groschup, and Ute Ziegler. 2018. "West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus Monitoring of Wild Birds in Germany" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, no. 1: 171.

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