Lineage 1 and 2 strains of encephalitic West Nile virus, Central Europe

Tamás Bakonyi, Éva Ivanics, Károly Erdélyi, Krisztina Ursu, Emöke Ferenczi, Herbert Weissenböck, Norbert Nowotny

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Two different West Nile virus (WNV) strains caused lethal encephalitis in a flock of geese and a goshawk in southeastern Hungary in 2003 and 2004, respectively. During the outbreak in geese, 14 confirmed human cases of WNV encephalitis and meningitis were reported in the same area. Sequencing of complete genomes of both WNV strains and phylogenetic analyses showed that the goose-derived strain exhibits closest genetic relationship to strains isolated in 1998 in Israel and to the strain that emerged in 1999 in the United States. WNV derived from the goshawk showed the highest identity to WNV strains of lineage 2 isolated in central Africa. The same strain reemerged in 2005 in the same location, which suggests that the virus may have overwintered in Europe. The emergence of an exotic WNV strain in Hungary emphasizes the role of migrating birds in introducing new viruses to Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-623
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

Cite this

Bakonyi, T., Ivanics, É., Erdélyi, K., Ursu, K., Ferenczi, E., Weissenböck, H., & Nowotny, N. (2006). Lineage 1 and 2 strains of encephalitic West Nile virus, Central Europe. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 12(4), 618-623.