Usutu virus activity in Austria, 2001-2002

Herbert Weissenböck*, Jolanta Kolodziejek, Karin Fragner, Roland Kuhn, Martin Pfeffer, Norbert Nowotny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Usutu virus (USUV), a member of the mosquito-borne clade within the Flaviviridae family, was responsible for avian mortality in Austria in 2001. In 2002, the virus continued to kill birds, predominantly blackbirds. High numbers of avian deaths were recorded within the city of Vienna and in surrounding districts of the federal state of Lower Austria, while single die-offs were noticed in the federal states of Styria and Burgenland. A total of 72 birds were submitted for laboratory examination, 30 of which tested positive for USUV by immunohistochemistry and/or polymerase chain reaction. Laboratory-confirmed cases of USUV infection originated from the federal states of Vienna and Lower Austria only. The data show that (i) USUV has managed to overwinter and has been able to establish a transmission cycle in Austria, (ii) the virus seems to have become a resident pathogen of Austria with a tendency to spread to other geographic areas, and (iii) the surveillance of dead blackbirds is a useful sentinel system for monitoring USUV activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1136
Number of pages5
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Austria
  • Avian mortality
  • USUV
  • Usutu virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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