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Usutu Virus, Molecular Detection

The molecular detection of the Usutu virus is used for the laboratory confirmation of this viral infection.

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Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne virus that belongs to the Flaviviridae family and is closely related to other viruses such as the West Nile virus and the Japanese encephalitis virus. It was first isolated and identified in South Africa in 1959. The Usutu virus is primarily transmitted by Culex mosquitoes, with birds as the main reservoir hosts. It can also infect humans and other mammals, although human infections are relatively rare.

Transmission: The Usutu virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, particularly the Culex species. These mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of infected birds, which act as reservoir hosts.

Geographic Distribution: Originally found in South Africa, the Usutu virus has since spread to Europe. It was first identified in Europe in the early 2000s, with cases reported in several countries. The virus has been associated with outbreaks of bird mortality in some European regions.

Clinical Symptoms: In humans, Usutu virus infections can cause symptoms, from mild flu-like symptoms to more severe neurological complications such as encephalitis or meningitis. Most infected individuals remain asymptomatic, and severe cases are relatively rare.

Diagnosis: Diagnosing Usutu virus infections involves laboratory tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect the presence of the virus in blood or cerebrospinal fluid.

Prevention: Preventing Usutu virus infections involves mosquito control measures, such as using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

The prevalence and impact of the Usutu virus may vary in different regions. Currently, there is no official data on Usutu virus infection in Greece.

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