Eurosurveillance: Vector-Borne Disease

Arthropod-borne viruses transmitted by Phlebotomine sandflies in Europe: a review

Phlebotomine sandflies are known to transmit leishmaniases, bacteria and viruses that affect humans and animals in many countries worldwide. These sandfly-borne viruses are mainly the Phlebovirus, the Vesiculovirus and the Orbivirus. Some of these viruses are associated with outbreaks or human cases in the Mediterranean Europe. In this paper, the viruses transmitted by Phlebotomine sandflies in Europe (Toscana virus, Sicilian virus, sandfly fever Naples virus) are reviewed and their medical importance, geographical distribution, epidemiology and potential spreading discussed. Data on vertebrate reservoirs is sparse for sandfly fever viruses. The factor currently known to limit the spread of diseases is mainly the distribution areas of potential vectors. The distribution areas of the disease may not be restricted to the areas where they have been recorded but could be as wide as those of their vectors, that is to say Larroussius and P. papatasi mainly but not exclusively. Consequently, field work in form of viral isolation from sandflies and possible reservoirs as well as laboratory work to establish vectorial competence of colonised sandflies need to be encouraged in a near future, and epidemiological surveillance should be undertaken throughout the European Union.

First human case of Usutu virus neuroinvasive infection, Italy, August-September 2009

We report the first worldwide case of Usutu virus (USUV) neuroinvasive infection in a patient with diffuse large B cell lymphoma who presented with fever and neurological symptoms and was diagnosed with meningoencephalitits. The cerebrospinal fluid was positive for USUV, and USUV was also demonstrated in serum and plasma samples by RT-PCR and sequencing. Partial sequences of the premembrane and NS5 regions of the viral genome were similar to the USUV Vienna and Budapest isolates.

Usutu virus infection in a patient who underwent orthotropic liver transplantation, Italy, August-September 2009

We report a case of Usutu virus (USUV)-related illness in a patient that underwent an orthotropic liver transplant (OLT). Post transplant, the patient developed clinical signs of a possible neuroinvasive disease with a significant loss of cerebral functions. USUV was isolated in Vero E6 cells from a plasma sample obtained immediately before the surgery, and USUV RNA was demonstrated by RT-PCR and sequencing. This report enlarges the panel of emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus-related disease in humans.

International network for capacity building for the control of emerging viral vector-borne zoonotic diseases: ARBO-ZOONET

Arboviruses are arthropod-borne viruses, which include West Nile fever virus (WNFV), a mosquito-borne virus, Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a mosquito-borne virus, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), a tick-borne virus. These arthropod-borne viruses can cause disease in different domestic and wild animals and in humans, posing a threat to public health because of their epidemic and zoonotic potential. In recent decades, the geographical distribution of these diseases has expanded. Outbreaks of WNF have already occurred in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean basin. Moreover, CCHF is endemic in many European countries and serious outbreaks have occurred, particularly in the Balkans, Turkey and Southern Federal Districts of Russia. In 2000, RVF was reported for the first time outside the African continent, with cases being confirmed in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. This spread was probably caused by ruminant trade and highlights that there is a threat of expansion of the virus into other parts of Asia and Europe. In the light of global warming and globalisation of trade and travel, public interest in emerging zoonotic diseases has increased. This is especially evident regarding the geographical spread of vector-borne diseases. A multi-disciplinary approach is now imperative, and groups need to collaborate in an integrated manner that includes vector control, vaccination programmes, improved therapy strategies, diagnostic tools and surveillance, public awareness, capacity building and improvement of infrastructure in endemic regions.