Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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Toscana virus (TOSV), transmitted by phlebotomine sandflies, is recognised as one of the most important causes of viral meningitis in summer in Mediterranean countries. A surveillance plan based on both human and entomological surveys was started in 2010 in the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy. Clinical samples from patients with neurological manifestations were collected during 2010 to 2012. The surveillance protocol was improved during these years, allowing the detection of 65 human infections. Most of these infections were recorded in hilly areas, where sandflies reach the highest density. Entomological sampling around the homes of the patients resulted in a low number of captured sandflies, while later sampling in a hilly area with high number of human cases (n=21) resulted in a larger number of captured sandflies. Using this approach, 25,653 sandflies were sampled, of which there were 21,157 females, which were sorted into 287 pools. TOSV RNA was detected by real-time PCR in 33 of the pools. The results highlighted the role of Phlebotomus perfiliewi as the main vector of TOSV and a potential link between vector density and virus circulation. This integrated system shows that an interdisciplinary approach improves the sensitiveness and effectiveness of health surveillance.


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