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:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , a ... the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making ... aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , April 28, 2016 ... 1,491.2 M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of ... Operating profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating ... SEK 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was ... , The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts from ... believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Surviving ... to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, tissue ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly ... technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is ... manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... PHILADELPHIA , June 27, 2016  Liquid ... today announced the funding of a Sponsored Research ... study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  ... changes in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes ... therapies. These data will then be employed to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
Breaking Biology Technology: