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Retrospective survey of West Nile Virus/Flavivirus activity in wildlife in Spain

AuthorsHöfle, Ursula ; Gutiérrez-Guzmán, Ana Valeria; Gamino, Virginia ; Díaz-Sánchez, Sandra ; Pérez-Ramírez, Elisa ; Llorente, Francisco; García-Bocanegra, Ignacio; Boadella, Mariana ; Gortázar, Christian
Issue Date2012
CitationIX International Congress of Veterinary Virology (2012)
Abstract[Objectives]: Wildlife is exposed to mosquito borne zoonotic flaviviruses such as West Nile virus (WNV), and birds are the main reservoir for most of these. We used serum samples readily available from different avian and mammalian wildlife species and extensively raised Iberian pigs, in order to evaluate their usefulness for the analysis of temporo-spatial patterns in Flavivirus activity and to determine which species could be used as potential sentinels of WNV/Flavivirus activity. [Methods]: Serum samples of wildlife were obtained between 1995 and 2011 at hunting drives (red deer n=2678, wild boar n=545, red-legged partridges n=336, red foxes n=83, other ruminants n= 251), during sanitary controls (Iberian pig n=177, red deer n=1383, red-legged partridges, resident captive wild birds=188), from casualty wildlife admitted to rehabilitation centres or found dead in the field (wild birds n=1200, red foxes n=20, other mesomammals n= 11), during pest control activities (magpies n=117) and during radio-tagging and ringing activities (wild birds, n=127). All samples were tested by commercial competitive ELISA for the presence of WNV/Flavivirus antibodies and suitable positive sera were subjected to VNT against WNV. [Results]: Flavivirus seroprevalence was lowest in red deer (3%) and highest in magpies (35%), and increased with age in red-legged partridges and wild boars. Exposure to Flaviviruses was evidenced in 13 out of 16 years from which samples were available and an increasing trend in seroprevalence was observed in wild birds over time. Exposure of mammals to flaviviruses was confirmed in four out of five geographically and climatologically defined bioregions in Spain, with exception of the North Atlantic Coast. In red-legged partridges and red deer, seroprevalence was significantly higher in South western than in South Central Spain. Among free-living birds, sub-Saharan migrants had a significantly higher seroprevalence than resident birds and Northern European migrants. No significant differences in exposure were found between wild and farm-raised animals (red deer, red-legged partridge). Game birds and red deer sampled in the region where WNV and Bagaza Virus (BAGV) outbreaks occurred in 2010 (WNV and BAGV) and 2011 (WNV) showed a significant increase in seroprevalence in the year after the first outbreak (2011). In all species, neutralizing antibodies against WNV were confirmed only in part of the ELISA positive samples, suggesting higher sensitivity of the ELISA on one hand and/or exposure to other Flaviviruses on the other. [Conclusion]: Collection and storage of serum samples of casualty and hunted wildlife can be an important source of information for the understanding of the epidemiology of zoonotic viruses with a wildlife reservoir. Specifically for WNV the most interesting sentinel species would be magpies, red foxes and birds from the Accipitridae family.
DescriptionResumen del póster presentado al IX International Congress of Veterinary Virology, celebrado en Madrid (España) del 4 al 7 de septiembre de 2012.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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