Navigation Links
Forensic pathology: tracing the origin of the Usutu Virus
Date:2/8/2013

The effects were dramatic: throughout Vienna it was impossible not to notice that the blackbirds were disappearing. Their melodious song no longer rang around the courtyards of the inner city nor woke tired partygoers in the outlying districts. The birds were simply no longer there. Thankfully, they gradually reappeared and a few years later their population had returned to its original levels. But the sudden crash in numbers was alarming and scientists rushed to find the cause.

It soon became apparent that the birds had died as a result of a new kind of viral infection. The culprit turned out to be the Usutu virus, which had previously been identified only in Africa and had only seldom been associated with mortality in animals or birds. It was widely assumed that the virus had crossed from Africa to central Europe with the help of migratory birds the Barn swallow was generally fingered as the most likely transmitter and that such sudden outbreaks would appear more frequently as the result of climate change. But these conclusions have been called into question by the latest findings from a team at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna).

Although not widely reported at the time, a large number of birds, especially blackbirds, died in Tuscany, Italy in 1996, five years before the outbreak of Usutu virus in Vienna's blackbirds. The causative agent was not identified but Giacomo Rossi of the University of Camerino had stored tissue samples from the dead birds. Herbert Weissenbck, Norbert Nowotny and colleagues in the Institute of Pathology and the Institute of Virology at the Vetmeduni Vienna recently became aware of the samples' existence and were naturally keen to investigate them. Surprisingly, the researchers found that the Italian samples contained exactly the same strain of Usutu virus that was responsible for the Viennese cases. As in Vienna, the birds were almost wiped out by the virus but resistance soon developed and the population returned to normal levels.

As Weissenbck says, "We still do not fully understand how the virus reached Austria but we have at least uncovered one piece in the jigsaw. Rather than coming directly from Africa to Vienna, the Usutu virus seems to have been present in Italy for some time." The powerful techniques of forensic pathology may be helpful in unravelling the origins of other emerging diseases: for example, we still do not know how the bluetongue virus reached northern Germany or the West Nile virus arrived in central Europe.


'/>"/>

Contact: Herbert Weissenbck
herbert.weissenboeck@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-2418
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Flashback Data Remains Only Non-Governmental Digital Forensics Lab with ASCLD/LAB International Accreditation
2. New forensic institute at the University of Leicester will help police forces solve unusual crimes
3. Forensic tools for catching poachers
4. University of North Texas Health Science Center Advances Forensic Research by Investing in Semiconductor DNA Sequencing Technology
5. Forensics ferret out fire beetle secret
6. Forensic science used to determine whos who in pre-Columbian Peru
7. Tracing humanitys African ancestry may mean rewriting out of Africa dates
8. Vitamin B12 deficiency: Tracing the causes
9. Entering an Unseen World: A Founding Laboratory and Origins of Modern Cell Biology 1910-1974
10. Stem cell research helps to identify origins of schizophrenia
11. Earliest sea cow ancestors originated in Africa, lived in fresh water
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/26/2017)... , Jan. 26, 2017  Crossmatch, a leading provider ... new solution aimed at combatting fraud, waste and abuse ... introduced at the Action on Disaster Relief conference in ... point for UN agencies and foreign assistance organizations throughout ... waste and abuse are a largely unacknowledged problem in ...
(Date:1/25/2017)... The Elements of Enterprise Information Security ... of a comprehensive set of business processes and ... identities and providing a secured and documented access ... number of programs opted by enterprises to maintain ... processes and changing policies. However, there are some ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 24, 2017  It sounds simple and harmless—an ... monitors vital signs and alerts parents on their ... saturation level drops. But pediatric experts argue that ... with no evidence of medical benefits, especially to ... aggressively to parents of healthy babies, promising peace ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)...   Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... first-in-class biological therapies for cardiac and other medical ... terminate its license agreement with the Mayo Clinic ... "Our decision to return these rights ... efforts to advance our core cell and exosome-based ...
(Date:2/16/2017)...  Champions Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSBR ), ... advanced technology solutions and products to personalize the development ... of new cohorts of PDX models to their existing ... Champions, product line in hepatocellular cancer, breast cancer, castrate ... non-small cell lung cancer (including EGFR mutation; ALK/ROS1 positive) ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... ... extended its industry leading Biochemistry Services specifically targeting the rapidly growing needs ... methods for the biochemical and biosimilar characterization , product-related impurity characterization, ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... Inc. (Vanda) (NASDAQ: VNDA), today announced financial and ... year ended December 31, 2016. "2016 ... continued to demonstrate strong growth in our commercial ... Mihael H. Polymeropoulos, M.D., Vanda,s President and CEO. ... milestones underscores Vanda,s commitment to bringing important new ...
Breaking Biology Technology: