Widespread circulation of flaviviruses in horses and birds in northeastern spain (Catalonia) between 2010 and 2019

Sebastian Napp*, Francisco Llorente, Cécile Beck, Eduard Jose‐cunilleras, Mercè Soler, Lola Pailler‐garcía, Rayane Amaral, Pilar Aguilera‐sepúlveda, Maria Pifarré, Rafael Molina‐lópez, Elena Obón, Olga Nicolás, Sylvie Lecollinet, Miguel Ángel Jiménez‐clavero, Núria Busquets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The surveillance for West Nile virus (WNV) in Catalonia (northeastern Spain) has consist-ently detected flaviviruses not identified as WNV. With the aim of characterizing the flaviviruses circulating in Catalonia, serum samples from birds and horses collected between 2010 and 2019 and positive by panflavivirus competition ELISA (cELISA) were analyzed by microneutralization test (MNT) against different flaviviruses. A third of the samples tested were inconclusive by MNT, high-lighting the limitations of current diagnostic techniques. Our results evidenced the widespread circulation of flaviviruses, in particular WNV, but also Usutu virus (USUV), and suggest that chicken and horses could serve as sentinels for both viruses. In several regions, WNV and USUV over-lapped, but no significant geographical aggregation was observed. Bagaza virus (BAGV) was not detected in birds, while positivity to tick‐borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) was sporadically detected in horses although no endemic foci were observed. So far, no human infections by WNV, USUV, or TBEV have been reported in Catalonia. However, these zoonotic flaviviruses need to be kept under surveillance, ideally within a One Health framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2404
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Bagaza virus
  • Flaviviruses
  • Spain
  • Tick‐borne encephalitis virus
  • Usutu virus
  • West Nile virus


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