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Molecular characterization of flaviviruses from field-collected mosquitoes in northwestern Italy, 2011-2012.

Rizzo F, Cerutti F, Ballardini M, Mosca A, Vitale N, Radaelli MC, Desiato R, Prearo M, Pautasso A, Casalone C, Acutis P, Peletto S, Mandola ML - Parasit Vectors (2014)

Bottom Line: Thirty-four mosquito pools resulted positive for flaviviruses, and twenty-five flavivirus sequences underwent phylogenetic analysis for the short NS5 fragment.Finally, further evidence for the integration of Flavivirus nucleic acid into the host genome has been shown.These results underline the importance of continuing intense mosquito-based surveillance in Piedmont, supported by a mosquito control program in areas at high risk for human exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, Via Bologna 148, I-10154 Torino, Italy. simone.peletto@izsto.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: The genus Flavivirus comprises several mosquito-borne species, including the zoonotic pathogens West Nile and Usutu virus, circulating in animals and humans in Italy since 1998. Due to its ecological and geographical features, Piedmont is considered a risk area for flavivirus transmission. Here we report the results of a flavivirus survey (detection and genetic characterization) of mosquitoes collected in Piedmont in 2012 and the genetic characterization of three strains detected in 2011.

Methods: Pools of 1-203 mosquitoes, upon RNA extraction with TRIzol, were screened by a PCR assay for a 263 bp fragment of the Flavivirus NS5 gene. All positive samples were tested with a specific PCR for the E protein gene of Usutu virus and a generic Flavivirus RT-nested-PCR for a larger tract of the NS5 gene before sequencing. Phylogenetic trees were built with both NS5 fragments of representative Flavivirus species. DNA extracts of part of the positive pools were tested to detect sequences integrated in the host genome.

Results: Thirty-four mosquito pools resulted positive for flaviviruses, and twenty-five flavivirus sequences underwent phylogenetic analysis for the short NS5 fragment. Among the 19 sequences correlating with the insect-specific flavivirus group, ten samples, retrieved from Aedes albopictus, clustered within Aedes flavivirus, while the other nine aggregated in a separate clade composed of strains from various mosquito species (mainly Aedes vexans) from Piedmont and the Czech Republic. Six out of these nine also presented a DNA form of the sequence. The remaining sequences belonged to the mosquito-borne group: four, all from Culex pipiens, correlated to Italian Usutu virus strains, whereas two, from Ochlerotatus caspius, were highly similar to Marisma mosquito virus (MMV).

Conclusions: Our findings confirm the circulation of Usutu virus and of the potentially zoonotic Marisma mosquito virus in Piedmont. This is the first detection of Aedes flavivirus in Piedmont. Finally, further evidence for the integration of Flavivirus nucleic acid into the host genome has been shown. These results underline the importance of continuing intense mosquito-based surveillance in Piedmont, supported by a mosquito control program in areas at high risk for human exposure.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of Piedmont. The map indicates the trap sites for the virological surveillance. Province borders are defined and indicated as TO: Torino, CN: Cuneo, AT: Asti, AL: Alessandria, VC: Vercelli, NO: Novara, BI: Biella, VCO: Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. The 32 virological traps are colour-coded according to the results of flavivirus detection: black for negative traps, red for MMV-positive traps, yellow for ISF-positive traps, green for USUV-positive traps.
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Fig1: Map of Piedmont. The map indicates the trap sites for the virological surveillance. Province borders are defined and indicated as TO: Torino, CN: Cuneo, AT: Asti, AL: Alessandria, VC: Vercelli, NO: Novara, BI: Biella, VCO: Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. The 32 virological traps are colour-coded according to the results of flavivirus detection: black for negative traps, red for MMV-positive traps, yellow for ISF-positive traps, green for USUV-positive traps.

Mentions: Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, is divided into eight provinces (total area, 25,401.56 km2; population, 4,457,335 inhabitants). It is located at the western end of the Po Plain and is surrounded by the Alps on three sides (Figure 1). It is crossed by the Po river and bounded to the east by the Ticino river; it borders two other regions, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, with established and documented flavivirus circulation. Based on previous studies, which reported flavivirus circulation in mosquitoes in late summer [15, 36, 38], the virological surveillance started on August 1st and sampling was performed every two weeks till October 12th, 2012. The number of CO2-baited traps selected in 2012 for flavivirus surveillance was increased to 32 (i.e., 17 more than in the previous year) in order to extend coverage of the region. The traps were placed in locations at high risk for the establishment of the vector-host flavivirus transmission cycle, according to risk-based factors such as proximity to wet areas (rice fields, Po and Ticino rivers), airports, farms with previous WNV seropositivity in horses, and an abundance of migratory and resident avifauna.Figure 1


Molecular characterization of flaviviruses from field-collected mosquitoes in northwestern Italy, 2011-2012.

Rizzo F, Cerutti F, Ballardini M, Mosca A, Vitale N, Radaelli MC, Desiato R, Prearo M, Pautasso A, Casalone C, Acutis P, Peletto S, Mandola ML - Parasit Vectors (2014)

Map of Piedmont. The map indicates the trap sites for the virological surveillance. Province borders are defined and indicated as TO: Torino, CN: Cuneo, AT: Asti, AL: Alessandria, VC: Vercelli, NO: Novara, BI: Biella, VCO: Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. The 32 virological traps are colour-coded according to the results of flavivirus detection: black for negative traps, red for MMV-positive traps, yellow for ISF-positive traps, green for USUV-positive traps.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4150984&req=5

Fig1: Map of Piedmont. The map indicates the trap sites for the virological surveillance. Province borders are defined and indicated as TO: Torino, CN: Cuneo, AT: Asti, AL: Alessandria, VC: Vercelli, NO: Novara, BI: Biella, VCO: Verbano-Cusio-Ossola. The 32 virological traps are colour-coded according to the results of flavivirus detection: black for negative traps, red for MMV-positive traps, yellow for ISF-positive traps, green for USUV-positive traps.
Mentions: Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, is divided into eight provinces (total area, 25,401.56 km2; population, 4,457,335 inhabitants). It is located at the western end of the Po Plain and is surrounded by the Alps on three sides (Figure 1). It is crossed by the Po river and bounded to the east by the Ticino river; it borders two other regions, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, with established and documented flavivirus circulation. Based on previous studies, which reported flavivirus circulation in mosquitoes in late summer [15, 36, 38], the virological surveillance started on August 1st and sampling was performed every two weeks till October 12th, 2012. The number of CO2-baited traps selected in 2012 for flavivirus surveillance was increased to 32 (i.e., 17 more than in the previous year) in order to extend coverage of the region. The traps were placed in locations at high risk for the establishment of the vector-host flavivirus transmission cycle, according to risk-based factors such as proximity to wet areas (rice fields, Po and Ticino rivers), airports, farms with previous WNV seropositivity in horses, and an abundance of migratory and resident avifauna.Figure 1

Bottom Line: Thirty-four mosquito pools resulted positive for flaviviruses, and twenty-five flavivirus sequences underwent phylogenetic analysis for the short NS5 fragment.Finally, further evidence for the integration of Flavivirus nucleic acid into the host genome has been shown.These results underline the importance of continuing intense mosquito-based surveillance in Piedmont, supported by a mosquito control program in areas at high risk for human exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, Via Bologna 148, I-10154 Torino, Italy. simone.peletto@izsto.it.

ABSTRACT

Background: The genus Flavivirus comprises several mosquito-borne species, including the zoonotic pathogens West Nile and Usutu virus, circulating in animals and humans in Italy since 1998. Due to its ecological and geographical features, Piedmont is considered a risk area for flavivirus transmission. Here we report the results of a flavivirus survey (detection and genetic characterization) of mosquitoes collected in Piedmont in 2012 and the genetic characterization of three strains detected in 2011.

Methods: Pools of 1-203 mosquitoes, upon RNA extraction with TRIzol, were screened by a PCR assay for a 263 bp fragment of the Flavivirus NS5 gene. All positive samples were tested with a specific PCR for the E protein gene of Usutu virus and a generic Flavivirus RT-nested-PCR for a larger tract of the NS5 gene before sequencing. Phylogenetic trees were built with both NS5 fragments of representative Flavivirus species. DNA extracts of part of the positive pools were tested to detect sequences integrated in the host genome.

Results: Thirty-four mosquito pools resulted positive for flaviviruses, and twenty-five flavivirus sequences underwent phylogenetic analysis for the short NS5 fragment. Among the 19 sequences correlating with the insect-specific flavivirus group, ten samples, retrieved from Aedes albopictus, clustered within Aedes flavivirus, while the other nine aggregated in a separate clade composed of strains from various mosquito species (mainly Aedes vexans) from Piedmont and the Czech Republic. Six out of these nine also presented a DNA form of the sequence. The remaining sequences belonged to the mosquito-borne group: four, all from Culex pipiens, correlated to Italian Usutu virus strains, whereas two, from Ochlerotatus caspius, were highly similar to Marisma mosquito virus (MMV).

Conclusions: Our findings confirm the circulation of Usutu virus and of the potentially zoonotic Marisma mosquito virus in Piedmont. This is the first detection of Aedes flavivirus in Piedmont. Finally, further evidence for the integration of Flavivirus nucleic acid into the host genome has been shown. These results underline the importance of continuing intense mosquito-based surveillance in Piedmont, supported by a mosquito control program in areas at high risk for human exposure.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus