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Open AccessReview

Usutu Virus: An Arbovirus on the Rise

Institut Pasteur, Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit, CNRS UMR 3569, 75015 Paris, France
Laboratorio de Virología Molecular, Centro de Investigaciones Nucleares, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
Laboratorio de Inmunovirología, Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 640;
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission Dynamics of Insect Viruses)
PDF [883 KB, uploaded 12 July 2019]


The Usutu virus (USUV) is a flavivirus that is drawing increasing attention because of its potential for emergence. First isolated in Africa, it was introduced into Europe where it caused significant outbreaks in birds, such as in Austria in 2001. Since then, its geographical distribution has rapidly expanded, with increased circulation, especially in the last few years. Similar to West Nile virus (WNV), the USUV enzootic transmission cycle involves Culex mosquitoes as vectors, and birds as amplifying reservoir hosts, with humans and other mammals likely being dead-end hosts. A similarity in the ecology of these two viruses, which co-circulate in several European countries, highlights USUV’s potential to become an important human pathogen. While USUV has had a severe impact on the blackbird population, the number of human cases remains low, with most infections being asymptomatic. However, some rare cases of neurological disease have been described, both in healthy and immuno-compromised patients. Here, we will discuss the transmission dynamics and the current state of USUV circulation in Europe. View Full-Text
Keywords: USUV; Usutu; WNV; flavivirus; emergence USUV; Usutu; WNV; flavivirus; emergence

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Roesch, F.; Fajardo, A.; Moratorio, G.; Vignuzzi, M. Usutu Virus: An Arbovirus on the Rise. Viruses 2019, 11, 640.

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