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Combining host and vector data informs emergence and potential impact of an Usutu virus outbreak in UK wild birds

Lawson, Becki; Robinson, Robert A; Briscoe, Andrew G; Cunningham, Andrew A; Fooks, Anthony R; Heaver, Joseph P; Hernández-Triana, Luis M; ... Folly, Arran J; + view all (2022) Combining host and vector data informs emergence and potential impact of an Usutu virus outbreak in UK wild birds. Scientific Reports , 12 , Article 10298. 10.1038/s41598-022-13258-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Following the first detection in the United Kingdom of Usutu virus (USUV) in wild birds in 2020, we undertook a multidisciplinary investigation that combined screening host and vector populations with interrogation of national citizen science monitoring datasets to assess the potential for population impacts on avian hosts. Pathological findings from six USUV-positive wild passerines were non-specific, highlighting the need for molecular and immunohistochemical examinations to confirm infection. Mosquito surveillance at the index site identified USUV RNA in Culex pipiens s.l. following the outbreak. Although the Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula) is most frequently impacted by USUV in Europe, national syndromic surveillance failed to detect any increase in occurrence of clinical signs consistent with USUV infection in this species. Furthermore, there was no increase in recoveries of dead blackbirds marked by the national ringing scheme. However, there was regional clustering of blackbird disease incident reports centred near the index site in 2020 and a contemporaneous marked reduction in the frequency with which blackbirds were recorded in gardens in this area, consistent with a hypothesis of disease-mediated population decline. Combining results from multidisciplinary schemes, as we have done, in real-time offers a model for the detection and impact assessment of future disease emergence events.

Type: Article
Title: Combining host and vector data informs emergence and potential impact of an Usutu virus outbreak in UK wild birds
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-13258-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-13258-2
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150475
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