Co-circulation of Usutu virus and West Nile virus in a reed bed ecosystem

Ivo Rudolf, Tamás Bakonyi, Oldřich Šebesta, Jan Mendel, Juraj Peško, Lenka Betášová, Hana Blažejová, Kristýna Venclíková, Petra Straková, Norbert Nowotny, Zdenek Hubálek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mosquito-borne flaviviruses are a major public health threat in many countries worldwide. In Central Europe, West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV), both belonging to the Japanese encephalitis virus group (Flaviviridae) have emerged in the last decennium. Surveillance of mosquito vectors for arboviruses is a sensitive tool to evaluate virus circulation and consequently to estimate the public health risk. Methods: Mosquitoes (Culicidae) were collected at South-Moravian (Czech Republic) fishponds between 2010 and 2014. A total of 61,770 female Culex modestus Ficalbi mosquitoes, pooled to 1,243 samples, were examined for flaviviruses by RT-PCR. Results: One pool proved positive for USUV RNA. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that this Czech USUV strain is closely related to Austrian and other Central European strains of the virus. In addition, nine strains of WNV lineage 2 were detected in Cx. modestus collected in the same reed bed ecosystem. Conclusions: This is the first detection of USUV in Cx. modestus. The results indicate that USUV and WNV may co-circulate in a sylvatic cycle in the same habitat, characterised by the presence of water birds and Cx. modestus mosquitoes, serving as hosts and vectors, respectively, for both viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number520
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 12 2015


  • Arbovirus
  • Culex modestus
  • Flavivirus
  • Mosquitoes
  • Surveillance
  • Usutu virus
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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