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    West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus that can affect birds, horses, and humans, and is the only zoonotic Flavivirus that has been identified in six continents. In Brazil, until 2010, there was no evidence of WNV circulation. Recently, the virus was isolated from a horse with encephalitis, and the first human cases were registered in Brazil. Despite that, there is still no information on the enzootic cycle of this virus in birds or wildlife. This study aimed to investigate whether there is evidence of WNV circulation among wild birds from Southern Brazil. For this, we used free-living wild raptors (live-trapped or rescued) as potential sentinels to investigate the presence of WNV antibodies using ELISA and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) assay. In addition, the presence of nucleic acids from Flavivirus family members was investigated. None of the birds sampled presented clinical findings compatible with WNV. Of the 200 serum samples from birds of prey belonging to 21 species, ten (5%) were positive for the presence of WNV antibodies on ELISA testing. The PRNT test did not confirm the ELISA results, but indicated that three birds had possibly been exposed to Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV). All samples were negative for Flavivirus RNA. The results presented here evince the need for permanent surveillance for emerging flaviviruses in Brazil, as well as for a contingency policy in the case of human/animal outbreaks, particularly in high-risk areas.


    Ana Paula Morel, Anelise Webster, Larissa Calo Zitelli, Karen Umeno, Ugo Araújo Souza, Fabiane Prusch, Marina Anicet, Gleide Marsicano, Paulo Bandarra, Gustavo Trainini, Julian Stocker, Denise Giani, Flávia Borges Fortes, Silvina Goenaga, José Reck. Serosurvey of West Nile virus (WNV) in free-ranging raptors from Brazil. Brazilian journal of microbiology : [publication of the Brazilian Society for Microbiology]. 2021 Mar;52(1):411-418

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    PMID: 33108590

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