RESEARCH ARTICLE


Toscana Virus Epidemiology: From Italy to Beyond



Maria G Cusi*, 1, Gianni G Savellini1, Giacomo Zanelli2
1 Department of Molecular Biology, Microbiology Section, University of Siena, Policlinico “S. Maria alle Scotte”, Siena, Italy
2 Department of Molecular Biology, Infectious Diseases Section, University of Siena, Policlinico “S. Maria alle Scotte”, Siena, Italy


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© Cusi et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Molecular Biology, Microbiology Section, University of Siena, Viale Bracci 1, 53100, Siena, Italy; Tel: +39 0577 233871; Fax: +39 0577 233870; E-mail: cusi@unisi.it


Abstract

Toscana virus (TOSV) is an arthropod-borne virus which is transmitted to humans by Phlebotomus spp sandflies. Infection is the cause of brain injuries, such as aseptic meningitis and meningoencephalitis, in Italy mainly during the summer. More recently some unusual clinical manifestations due to TOSV with severe sequelae, such as ischemic complications and hydrocephalus, have been reported. TOSV represents an important emerging pathogen and its presence is being investigated in several European countries on the Mediterranean basin, including Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. Phylogenetic analysis has distinguished two genotypes of TOSV, A and B; the first is circulating mainly in Italy and the second in Spain, indicating a different geographic distribution possibly related to the vector. This distribution, evolving with the climate, globalization and habitat modification, has implications for the epidemiology of TOSV.

Keywords: Toscana virus, phleboviruses, vectors, epidemiology, meningitis..