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.
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