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Surveillance Open Access
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Abstract

Background

Despite the known circulation of West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) in Slovakia, no formal entomological surveillance programme has been established there thus far.

Aim

To conduct contemporaneous surveillance of WNV and USUV in different areas of Slovakia and to assess the geographical spread of these viruses through mosquito vectors. The first autochthonous human WNV infection in the country is also described.

Methods

Mosquitoes were trapped in four Slovak territorial units in 2018 and 2019. Species were characterised morphologically and mosquito pools screened for WNV and USUV by real-time reverse-transcription PCRs. In pools with any of the two viruses detected, presence of complex group mosquitoes was verified using molecular approaches.

Results

Altogether, 421 pools containing in total 4,508 mosquitoes were screened. Three pools tested positive for WNV and 16 for USUV. USUV was more prevalent than WNV, with a broader spectrum of vectors and was detected over a longer period (June–October vs August for WNV). The main vectors of both viruses were sensu lato. Importantly, WNV and USUV were identified in a highly urbanised area of Bratislava city, Slovakias’ capital city. Moreover, in early September 2019, a patient, who had been bitten by mosquitoes in south-western Slovakia and who had not travelled abroad, was laboratory-confirmed with WNV infection.

Conclusion

The entomological survey results and case report increase current understanding of the WNV and USUV situation in Slovakia. They underline the importance of vector surveillance to assess public health risks posed by these viruses.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.19.2000063
2021-05-13
2021-09-29
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.19.2000063
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