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Low west nile virus circulation in wild birds in an area of recurring outbreaks in Southern France

Balança G., Gaidet N., Savini G., Vollot B., Foucart A., Reiter P., Boutonnier A., Lelli R., Monicat F.. 2009. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 9 (3) : p. 737-741.

DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0147

West Nile virus (WNV) has a history of irregular but recurrent epizootics in countries of Mediterranean and of Central and Eastern Europe. We have investigated the temporal enzootic activity of WNV in free-ranging birds over a 3-year period in an area with sporadic occurrences of WNV outbreaks in Southern France. We conducted an intensive serologic survey on several wild bird populations (>4000 serum samples collected from 3300 birds) selected as potential indicators of the WNV circulation. WNV antibodies were detected by seroneutralization and=or plaque reduction neutralization in house sparrows, black-billed magpies, and scops owls, but these species appeared to be insufficient indicators of WNV circulation. Overall seroprevalence was low (<1%), including in birds that had been potentially exposed to the virus during recent outbreaks. However, the detection of a seroconversion in one bird, as well as the detection of seropositive birds in all years of our monitoring, including juveniles, indicate a constant annual circulation of WNV at a low level, including in years without any detectable emergence of WN fever in horses or humans.

Mots-clés : oiseau; vecteur de maladie; flavivirus; sérologie; animal sauvage; distribution des populations; surveillance épidémiologique; Épidémiologie; france; région méditerranéenne; fièvre du nil occidental; camargue

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