Toscana virus epidemiology: from Italy to beyond

Open Virol J. 2010 Apr 22;4:22-8. doi: 10.2174/1874357901004020022.


Toscana virus (TOSV) is an arthropod-borne virus which is transmitted to humans by Phlebotomus spp sandflies. Infection is the cause of brain injuries, such as aseptic meningitis and meningoencephalitis, in Italy mainly during the summer. More recently some unusual clinical manifestations due to TOSV with severe sequelae, such as ischemic complications and hydrocephalus, have been reported. TOSV represents an important emerging pathogen and its presence is being investigated in several European countries on the Mediterranean basin, including Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. Phylogenetic analysis has distinguished two genotypes of TOSV, A and B; the first is circulating mainly in Italy and the second in Spain, indicating a different geographic distribution possibly related to the vector. This distribution, evolving with the climate, globalization and habitat modification, has implications for the epidemiology of TOSV.

Keywords: Toscana virus; epidemiology; meningitis.; phleboviruses; vectors.