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USUTU VIRUS 

                    What is an Usutu Virus (USUV)?

The Usutu virus, a tropical virus spreads in European. USUV was the first time identified in Sourth Africa in 1959 and is like many other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. 2001 was the Usutus virus for the first time in europe reported and indeed in Austria, near the city Vienna. Thousands of blackbirds died. Now the virus spreads again. It is assumed that the Usutu virus was introduced by infected migratory birds to Europe. Also a direct “entry” of mosquitoes with plane is kept for possible. The Usutu virus resembles the Japanese encephalitis virus and the West-Nil-Virus which also are transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus “Culex”. This mosquitoes can carry and transmit an infection into another living organism.  The Usutu virus, also the Japanese encephalitis virus and West-Nil-Virus mainly infects birds, but several cases are known to infect other animals, also humans (Zoonotic disease). For birds is the Usutu virus deadly. Blackbirds (Turdus merula) seem to be particularly susceptible, but the virus was already identified in other birds, such as Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa), Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus), House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Great Tit (Parus major), Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) and  Nuthatch (Sitta europea). For humans with a good immune system will the infection not be dangerous. The first signs are mild fever, headache and also rash. 2009 the Usutu virus infected several people in Italy. Two people with a weak immune system died from meningitis. 2010 Scientists in Germany discovered the Usutu virus in a local mosquito. 2012 the first case in humans was known. The progress of a disease has not been established. Only antibodies were detected in the blood. According to current knowledge is an infection only by mosquitoes or by transfer of blood possible.

   Can the Usutu virus be contagious for pet birds?

So far there are no known infections in pet birds. Questionable, however, is currently the increasing number of deaths of birds by the Usutu virus. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised. Birds in an outdoor aviary should be watched, because an infection by mosquitos can be possible. Fears are mutations of the Usutu virus, such as the avian flu (bird flu).
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