Usutu virus is back: Not only in blackbirds but also in humans

Usutu virus, a flavivirus of African origin, was first detected in Austria in 2001, when it caused a severe bird die-off, mainly of blackbirds. The virus was active in the eastern part of Austria until 2005, killing many blackbirds, but also other songbirds. During 10 subsequent years no Usutu virus associated bird mortality was observed in Austria — contrary to neighboring Hungary. Last year Usutu virus was identified again in two blackbirds — and in 2017 already in sixteen songbirds. In another study Usutu virus was demonstrated in seven human blood donations from eastern Austria, suggesting that human infections seem to be more frequent than previously thought. 

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