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In Italy the first occurrence of West Nile virus (WNV) infection was reported in Tuscany region during the late summer of 1998. In August 2008, the WNV infection re-emerged in Italy, in areas surrounding the Po river delta, and involving three regions Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto. WNV was isolated from blood and organs samples of one horse, one donkey, one pigeon (Columba livia) and three magpies (Pica pica). The phylogenetic analysis of the isolates, conducted on 255 bp in the region coding for the E protein, indicates that these isolates belong to the lineage I among the European strains. According to the analysis, both the 1998 and 2008 Italian strains as well as isolates from Romania, Russia, Senegal and Kenya fell in the same sub-cluster.


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