, Volume 74, Issue 7, pp 813–820 | Cite as

Surveillance on antibodies against West Nile virus, Usutu virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus and Tribeč virus in wild birds in Drienovská wetland, Slovakia

  • Tomáš Csank
  • Ľuboš KorytárEmail author
  • Terézia Pošiváková
  • Tamás Bakonyi
  • Juraj Pistl
  • Alexander Csanády
Original Article


Searching for specific antibodies in bird serum could reveal arbovirus activity in certain localities. To date, no systematic surveillance for arbovirus infection in autochthonous population of wild birds has been conducted in Slovakia. Present study includes birds captured on spring migration and birds of the autochthonous nesting population of the Drienovská wetland (Slovakia). Serum samples were tested for West Nile virus (WNV), Usutu virus (USUV), Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and Tribeč virus (TRBV) neutralizing antibodies (NAb). Blood samples were collected during 2017 spring migration (March – April) and from local breeders and hatched juveniles (May – July) caught by Constant Effort site ringing method. Specific NAb were detected by micro-titration virus neutralization test. WNV NAb were detected in 11.7% (18/153) of sampled birds. Ten WNV seropositive were migrants (Eurasian Robins, Eurasian Blackcap and a Great Tit), 5 were nesting adults (Song Thrush, White Throat, Eurasian Jay, Hawfinch and Eurasian Blackbird) and 3 were juveniles (Song Thrush, Common Starling and a Great Tit). There was not confirmed USUV infection in any of the examined birds. TBEV NAb were detected during breeding season in the adult Eurasian Blackcap, which means 1.1% (1/93) seropositivity. TRBV NAb was detected in 7.4% (5/68) of adult birds (Eurasian Blackbirds and a Common Starling) and in one juvenile Great Tit, which had also WNV Nab as well. These results suggest active transmission of at least two arboviruses in the autochthonous avifauna in Slovakia.


Arbovirus West Nile virus Usutu virus Tick-borne encephalitis virus Tribeč virus Birds 



This work was supported by grant VEGA 1/0729/16 sponsored by The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic; by grant IGA No. 08/2016 sponsored by the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice and by the grant NKFIH K 120118 sponsored by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office of Hungary.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

Birds were captured and blood samples were collected by a licensed bird ringer (ĽK), operating under exemption No. 269/132/05–5.1 pil and No. 6998/2015–2.3 from the Act. No. 543/2002 of the Code on nature and landscape protection, granted by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic to professionally qualified members of BirdLife Slovakia.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11756_2019_211_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in KošiceKošiceSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Department of Epizootiology and ParasitologyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in KošiceKošiceSlovak Republic
  3. 3.Department of the Environment, Veterinary Legislation and EconomicsUniversity of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in KošiceKošiceSlovak Republic
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesUniversity of Veterinary MedicineBudapestHungary
  5. 5.Viral Zoonoses, Emerging and Vector-Borne Infections Group, Institute of VirologyUniversity of Veterinary MedicineViennaAustria
  6. 6.Department of Biology, Faculty of Humanities and Natural SciencesUniversity of PrešovPrešovSlovak Republic

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