West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) are arboviruses transmitted by mosquito vectors. Whereas WNV is endemic in Israel, the Middle East, Europe, and in the Americas, data regarding the prevalence of USUV in the Middle East is limited. While both viruses share similar reservoirs and vectors, exposure of horses in the area to USUV have never been assessed. The aim of this study was to estimate the seroprevalence and co-exposure of WNV and USUV in horses in Israel. A total of 327 serum samples from healthy unvaccinated horses in Israel collected in 2018 were tested for neutralizing antibodies against WNV and USUV. Seroprevalence for neutralizing antibodies against WNV and USUV was 84.1% and 10.8%, respectively. Management and age were significantly associated with WNV and USUV seropositivity. This is the first report describing exposure of horses in Israel to USUV, which indicates that this zoonotic pathogen should be included in the differential diagnosis list of neuroinvasive disease in this country.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Yaniv Lustig from Israel Central Virology Laboratory (Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Ministry of Health, Israel); Martin Groschup and Utte Ziegler, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases (INNT, Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany) for supplying USUV positive sera samples from rabbits.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- Usutu virus
- West Nile virus