West Nile virus and other zoonotic viruses in Russia: examples of emerging-reemerging situations.
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Studies of the interactions of vertebrates, viruses and arthropod vectors of these viruses were monitored in terms of different ecological groups of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks in Northern Eurasia in an area encompassing more than 15 million km2. About 90 viruses were isolated, including 24 new to science. Newly recognized infections of vertebrates, including humans, were described. Many unusual epidemic situations were analysed. Permanent efforts were established to prevent bioterrorist activities and their consequences. Extensive epidemic outbreaks of West Nile fever (WNF; i.e., fever caused by West Nile virus) and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) with unusual high mortality appeared in the last four years in southern Russia. We determined infection rates in humans, domestic and wild animals, mosquitoes and ticks from natural and synanthropic biocenoses [Editorial note: "synanthropic" means, roughly, all species living with (c.f. lice, fleas) or near people, such as in houses (c.f. house mice), parks (c.f. Rattus spp.), and the like, rather like "peridomestic", but not strictly so; "biocenosis" is the biome, the "totality of living populations in a particular habitat, which itself is only a part of the ecosystem".]. CCHF virus strains were phylogenetically similar to strains isolated in this area 35 years ago but different from Central-South-Asian and African strains. Before the outset of the current emergence of epidemic WNF, three genetic variants of this virus had been isolated in USSR, two African and one Indian. Phylogenetic analysis of complete genome sequences of epidemic strains demonstrated considerable similarity to strains from USA and Israel and differences from strains isolated in the same USSR areas 20-30 years before. In addition to strains of genotype 1, we isolated strains of second and third lineages and a strain of a fourth genetic variant. Nucleotide differences of these strains from all three genotypes was about 30%. The emerging WNF situation in Russia for the last 4 years probably has been the result of not only natural and social factors, but also to introduction of more virulent strains or by evolution of the virus.
Archives of Virology. Supplementum
Microbiology not elsewhere classified