First Usutu virus infection detected in the United Kingdom

A recent publication in Eurosurveillance describes the detection of Usutu RNA in six birds in Greater London. Although the presence of neutralising antibodies in birds had been shown before, this is the first time that the virus has been detected in birds in the United Kingdom. The recently documented infections are likely to be the result of autochthonous transmission via mosquitoes. The six infected birds (five blackbirds and one house sparrow) were sampled between 15 July and 26 August 2020.

The authors clarify that even though this is the first time the virus has been detected, it it likely that the first infections may have occurred earlier and/or at a different location. Furthermore, they suggest that virus replication and transmission by mosquitoes has been facilitated by the high temperatures in the late spring and early summer this year, which was 1-2°C higher than average.

The article can be found through the link below:

https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.41.2001732

Location of Greater London area. Source: Wikipedia

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