Usutu virus (USUV) is an African mosquito-borne flavivirus, member of the Japanese encephalitis antigenic group. This avian virus is transmitted by arthropod vectors (mainly mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex). It is well known that free-living birds, including migratory species, have the potential to disperse certain pathogenic microorganisms. Usutu virus has recently been introduced to Europe and is spreading through Austria, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, causing disease in birds and humans. Like West Nile virus, USUV may become a resident pathogen in Europe and the consequences for public health should be considered. Many different biotic and abiotic factors affect the survival of the virus in a new environment and influence the efficiency of its geographical dispersal. In this article, we consider the possibility of including USUV infections among the vector-borne diseases to be monitored in Europe.
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