Out of Africa

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Science  07 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5574, pp. 1769
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5574.1769d

Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen of African birds, occasionally infecting humans and other mammals, and is related to flaviviruses such as the West Nile and yellow fever viruses. During August and September 2001, migrant and residential birds in Austria died, and Weissenböck et al. were able to detect USUV in the corpses of blackbirds, swallows, and captive owls. Because of the scale of bird deaths observed, it appears that USUV in migrant birds has established in a European mosquito species and is managing to overwinter. This is the first observation of USUV outside Africa and may presage the advent of more broadly pathogenic tropical viruses into Europe. — CA

Emerg. Infect. Dis. (

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