One Health surveillance of West Nile and Usutu viruses: a repeated cross-sectional study exploring seroprevalence and endemicity in Southern France, 2016 to 2020


  • Constant Orianne
  • Gil Patricia
  • Barthelemy Jonathan
  • Bolloré Karine
  • Foulongne Vincent
  • Desmetz Caroline
  • Leblond Agnès
  • Desjardins Isabelle
  • Pradier Sophie
  • Joulié Aurélien
  • Sandoz Alain
  • Amaral Rayane
  • Boisseau Michel
  • Rakotoarivony Ignace
  • Baldet Thierry
  • Marie Albane
  • Frances Benoît
  • Reboul Salze Florence
  • Tinto Bachirou
  • van de Perre Philippe
  • Salinas Sara
  • Beck Cécile
  • Lecolinet Sylvie
  • Gutierrez Serafin
  • Simonin Yannick


  • One Health surveillance
  • Usutu virus
  • West Nile virus
  • Co-circulation
  • Seroprevalence

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Background West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV), two closely related flaviviruses, mainly follow an enzootic cycle involving mosquitoes and birds, but also infect humans and other mammals. Since 2010, their epidemiological situation may have shifted from irregular epidemics to endemicity in several European regions; this requires confirmation, as it could have implications for risk assessment and surveillance strategies. Aim To explore the seroprevalence in animals and humans and potential endemicity of WNV and USUV in Southern France, given a long history of WNV outbreaks and the only severe human USUV case in France in this region. Methods We evaluated the prevalence of WNV and USUV in a repeated cross-sectional study by serological and molecular analyses of human, dog, horse, bird and mosquito samples in the Camargue area, including the city of Montpellier, between 2016 and 2020. Results We observed the active transmission of both viruses and higher USUV prevalence in humans, dogs, birds and mosquitoes, while WNV prevalence was higher in horses. In 500 human samples, 15 were positive for USUV and 6 for WNV. Genetic data showed that the same lineages, WNV lineage 1a and USUV lineage Africa 3, were found in mosquitoes in 2015, 2018 and 2020. Conclusion These findings support existing literature suggesting endemisation in the study region and contribute to a better understanding of USUV and WNV circulation in Southern France. Our study underlines the importance of a One Health approach for the surveillance of these viruses.

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