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Broader Geographical Distribution of Toscana Virus in the Mediterranean Region Suggests the Existence of Larger Varieties of Sand Fly Vectors
Open AccessArticle

Detection of Specific Antibodies against Toscana Virus among Blood Donors in Northeastern Italy and Correlation with Sand Fly Abundance in 2014

1
Unit of Clinical Microbiology, Regional Reference Centre for Microbiological Emergencies (CRREM), St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, 40138 Bologna, Italy
2
Laboratory of Entomology, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia Romagna “B. Ubertini” (IZLER), 42124 Reggio Emilia, Italy
3
Centro Regionale Sangue Emilia-Romagna, Maggiore Hospital, 40133 Bologna, Italy
4
Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy
5
Department of Medical and Veterinary Entomology, Centro Agricoltura Ambiente ‘G. Nicoli’, 40014 Crevalcore, Italy
6
Unité des Virus Emergents (UVE: Aix Marseille Univ, IRD 190, INSERM 1207, IHU Méditerranée Infection), 13005 Marseille, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(2), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8020145
Received: 16 December 2019 / Accepted: 16 January 2020 / Published: 21 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Vector Borne Infections: A Novel Threat for Global Health)
Toscana virus (TOSV) is a Phlebovirus transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies and is an important etiological agent of summer meningitis in the Mediterranean basin. Since TOSV infection is often asymptomatic, we evaluated the seroprevalence in blood donors (BDs) in the Bologna and Ferrara provinces (Northeastern Italy)—the areas with the highest and lowest numbers of TOSV neuroinvasive cases in the region, respectively. A total of 1208 serum samples from BDs were collected in April–June 2014 and evaluated for the presence of specific TOSV-IgG by ELISA. The IgG-reactive samples were confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IIF) and by microneutralization test (MN). Serum samples were defined as positive for anti-TOSV IgG when reactive by ELISA and by at least one second-level test; TOSV seroprevalence was 6.8% in the Bologna province, while no circulation of TOSV was detected in the Ferrara province. Sand fly abundance in 2014 was also estimated by a geographic information system using a generalized linear model applied to a series of explanatory variables. TOSV seroprevalence rate was strongly associated with the sand fly abundance index in each municipality, pointing out the strong association between sand fly abundance and human exposure to TOSV. View Full-Text
Keywords: Toscana virus; viral meningitis; seroprevalence; arbovirus; sand fly; Phlebotomus spp.; neutralization Toscana virus; viral meningitis; seroprevalence; arbovirus; sand fly; Phlebotomus spp.; neutralization
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Morini, S.; Calzolari, M.; Rossini, G.; Pascarelli, N.; Porcellini, A.; Randi, V.; Re, M.C.; Albieri, A.; Bonilauri, P.; Bellini, R.; Ayhan, N.; Charrel, R.; Varani, S. Detection of Specific Antibodies against Toscana Virus among Blood Donors in Northeastern Italy and Correlation with Sand Fly Abundance in 2014. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 145.

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