Emergence of West Nile virus lineage 2 belonging to the Eastern European subclade, Greece
West Nile virus (WNV) emerged in Greece in 2010 and since then human outbreaks occurred every year except 2015 and 2016. An early start and prolonged WNV transmission season was observed in 2018 with a record number of 316 reported cases and 47 fatalities. The Greek WNV strains detected during 2010-2018 clustered within the central European subclade of lineage 2. A novel WNV genetic variant was detected in August 2018 in one human case in the north-eastern region of Greece, at the land cross-border with Turkey and Bulgaria. The strain belongs to the Eastern European subclade of lineage 2 suggesting a new virus introduction in the country and the continuously changing epidemiology of the disease.
KeywordsWest Nile virus Lineage 2 Eastern European subclade Greece
The study was financially supported by the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme COMPARE (Grant agreement No. 643476).
- 3.Dinu S, Cotar AI, Gatej IR, Falcuta E, Prioteasa F-L, Sirbu A, Oprisan G, Bădescu D, Reiter P, Ceianu C (2015) West Nile virus circulation in South-Eastern Romania, 2011 to 2013. Euro Surveill 20(20):6. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES2015.20.20.21130 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 4.European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) Weekly updates: 2018 West Nile fever transmission season (updated 13 December 2019). https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/west-nile-fever/surveillance-and-disease-data/disease-data-ecdc
- 5.Haussig JM, Young JJ, Gossner CM, Mezei E, Bella A, Sirbu A, Pervanidou D, Drakulovic MB, Sudre B (2018) Early start of the West Nile fever transmission season 2018 in Europe. Euro Surveill 23(32):1800428. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.32.1800428 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 6.Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) Weekly epidemiological report for West Nile virus disease. Greece 2018–20(12):2018Google Scholar
- 7.Kolodziejek J, Marinov M, Kiss BJ, Alexe V, Nowotny N (2014) The complete sequence of a West Nile virus lineage 2 strain detected in a Hyalomma marginatum marginatum tick collected from a song thrush (Turdus philomelos) in eastern Romania in 2013 revealed closest genetic relationship to strain Volgograd 2007. PLoS One 9:e109905CrossRefGoogle Scholar