Mosquito species involved in the circulation of West Nile and Usutu viruses in Italy

Vet Ital. 2017 Jun 30;53(2):97-110. doi: 10.12834/VetIt.114.933.4764.2.


Usutu (USUV) and West Nile (WNV) are mosquito-borne Flavivirus emerged in Italy in 1996 and 1998, respectively, and reappeared 10 years later. The aim of this work is to review the Italian mosquito species found positive for WNV and USUV between 2008 and 2014. Moreover, the role of mosquitoes in promoting the overwintering of these viruses is discussed, as a result of the mosquito collections performed in Molise region between September 2010 and April 2011. Overall 99,000 mosquitoes were collected: 337 and 457 mosquito pools tested positive by real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR) for WNV and USUV, respectively. West Nile virus was detected in pools of Culex pipiens s.l. (329), Ochlerotatus caspius (4), Culex modestus (2), and Culex spp. (2). Positive USUV pools were from Cx. pipiens s.l. (435), Aedes albopictus (12), Oc. caspius (5), Culex spp. (2), Anopheles maculipennis s.l. (1), Culiseta annulata (1), and Ochlerotatus detritus (1). In Molise region, 1,694 mosquitoes were collected, and USUV was identi ed in Cx. pipiens s.l., Cs. annulata, and Oc. detritus pools. This paper shows that Cx. pipiens s.l. is the mosquito species most involved in the WNV and USUV circulation in Italy, although other species would also support the spread of both the viruses during Winter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culex / classification
  • Culex / virology*
  • Flavivirus / growth & development
  • Flavivirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Flavivirus Infections / transmission
  • Flavivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Mosquito Vectors / classification
  • Mosquito Vectors / virology*
  • West Nile Fever / epidemiology
  • West Nile Fever / transmission
  • West Nile Fever / veterinary*
  • West Nile virus / growth & development