Published Date: 2011-03-13 15:00:05
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> West Nile virus - Greece
Archive Number: 20110313.0809
WEST NILE VIRUS - GREECE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 12 Mar 2011
From: Billinis Charalambos <firstname.lastname@example.org> [edited]
From early July through October 2010, a total of 261 laboratory
confirmed cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infections in humans were
reported, in central Macedonia as well as in the district of Larissa
(Northern Greece). Of these, 191 patients presented with neuroinvasive
symptoms and 34 deaths have been reported (1).
A WNV lineage 2 strain was molecularly detected in a European magpie
and was identified and characterized, in our laboratory. This corvid
was hunted in central Macedonia in September 2010, during the recent
WNV outbreak in humans. This is the 1st molecular detection of WNV
lineage 2 in wild birds in Greece.
Phylogenetic analysis of a 604-nt sequence (partial NS5 genomic
region) revealed high homology of our strain with the Hungarian and
Austrian lineage 2 strains detected in previous years in birds of
prey. Apart from our strain, a strain of WNV lineage 2 (146 nt) was
detected in 2 pools of mosquitoes in nearby areas in the same period
by Dr Papa (2), supporting the hypothesis that WNV lineage 2 was the
etiologic agent of the WNV outbreak in humans in 2010.
There is currently an ongoing sequencing of our strain that will
allow us to draw more conclusions regarding the recent WNV lineage 2
outbreaks in Europe. We are continuing our study collecting wild bird
samples dating from the recent outbreak in Greece till now, and
performing molecular and serologic surveillance.
1. Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO). West
Nile Virus Epidemic in Greece.
2. Papa A, Xanthopoulou K, Gewehr S, Mourelatos S: Detection of West
Nile virus lineage 2 in mosquitoes during a human outbreak in Greece.
Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011 Article first published online: 14 Jan
2011 [abstract available at
George Valiakos, DVM, PhD Student
Antonia Touloudi, DVM, PhD Student
Christos Iacovakis, DVM, PhD Student
Labrini Athanasiou, DVM, MSc, PhD, Lecturer
Charalambos Billinis, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor
Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Thessaly, Karditsa,
Periklis Birtsas, DVM, PhD, Assistant Professor
Vassiliki Spyrou, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor
Technological Educational Institution of Larissa, Greece
[ProMED-mail thanks the researchers above for this report, which
provides an update of the West Nile virus outbreak in Greece in 2010.
The last ProMED-mail report on the outbreak, posted on 1 Sep 2010,
(archive number 20100902.3141) indicated that at that time there had
been 150 West Nile virus (WNV) human cases. The above update indicates
that with subsequent cases there were 261 laboratory confirmed cases
with 34 deaths in 2010. The confirmation of WNV lineage 2 in Greece is
interesting, and indicates that this lineage was fairly wide spread in
south-central Europe in 2010. It will be interesting to learn the
results of the continuing studies being done by this group.
A map showing the location of Greek Central Macedonia can be accessed
at <http://www.mlahanas.de/Greece/Regions/CentralMacedonia.html>. A
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of central Greece can be
accessed at <http://healthmap.org/r/0AeI>. - Mod.TY]