Home Acta Virologica 2020 Acta Virologica Vol.64, No.2, p.187-200, 2020

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ISSN 0001-723X
E-ISSN 1336-2305

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Acta Virologica Vol.64, No.2, p.187-200, 2020

Title: Retrospective review and current knowledge on the occurrence of West Nile virus in mosquito vectors, reservoirs and hosts in Slovakia (Central Europe)
Author: Ľ. Korytár, K. Peňazziová, J. Pistl, E. Tichá, V. Čabanová, T. Csank

Abstract: West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus (the genus Flavivirus) representing a medical and veterinary public health concern. Birds are the most important reservoirs. Culicine mosquitoes transmit WNV to vertebrate hosts (including horses and humans) and migratory birds play role in its long-distance transport. Slovakia is geographically localised at the crossroad of migration routes connecting South Europe and Africa with breeding localities in the Western, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe and Siberia. This review summarizes historical and present knowledge on WNV in Slovakia during a period of more than fifty years. Five European mosquito species capable to transmit WNV are native in Slovakia. Based on recent research results, the major role in the WNV transmission is attributed to Culex mosquitoes, which are also the most abundant species. Virus isolates from birds that succumbed to WNV infection are genetically close to Central European strains. Historical and recent results point out, that WNV circulates in the population of vectors, reservoirs and hosts for decades. Although West Nile fever epidemics in Slovakia were not reported yet, virus isolation, molecular detection and serological findings in reservoirs and hosts confirm that sporadic cases occur. Furthermore, the first autochthonous human case may indicate favourable conditions for WNV transmission to humans. The climate change and precipitation anomalies may favour to increase vector abundance, hence increase the chance of WNV epidemics. This review highlights an urgent need of a countrywide surveillance program aimed on the WNV occurrence in vectors and reservoirs in Slovakia.

Keywords: West Nile virus; flavivirus; vector-borne pathogen; arbovirus
Published online: 08-Apr-2020
Year: 2020, Volume: 64, Issue: 2 Page From: 187, Page To: 200
doi:10.4149/av_2020_209


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