The common coot as sentinel species for the presence of West Nile and Usutu flaviviruses in Central Europe

  • Straková P
  • Šikutová S
  • Jedličková P
 et al. 
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We examined 146 common coots (Fulica atra) on fishponds in central Moravia, Czech Republic, for antibodies to West Nile (WNV) and Usutu (USUV) flaviviruses. Eighteen birds reacted in the plaque-reduction neutralization test against WNV; these WNV seropositive samples were then titrated in parallel against USUV and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) to exclude flavivirus cross-reactivity. Two birds (1.4% overall) had the highest titers against WNV while 9 birds (6.2% overall) were seropositive for USUV, and in 7 birds the infecting flavivirus could not be differentiated with certainty. Our results indicate that both WNV and USUV infections occur in common coots; these birds might serve as a 'sentinel' species indicating the presence of these viruses at fishpond and wetland habitats in Central Europe.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Common coot
  • Culex spp
  • Fulica atra
  • Mosquito-borne viruses
  • Surveillance
  • Usutu virus
  • West Nile virus

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