Anno 2018 | Entomologia e Zoologia Sanitarie | Scarica articolo |

Different phleboviruses are important pathogens for humans; most of these viruses are transmitted by sand flies. An increasing number of new phleboviruses have been reported over the past decade, especially in Mediterranean countries, mainly via their detection in sand flies.

At least five different phleboviruses co-circulated in sand flies that were collected in three sites in Emilia-Romagna (Italy) in the summer of 2013. The well-known Toscana virus (TOSV) was isolated; three new, closely related phleboviruses differing in their M segments and tentatively named Ponticelli I, Ponticelli II and Ponticelli III virus, respectively, were isolated; a fifth putative phlebovirus, related to the sand fly fever Naples phlebovirus species, was also detected. The co-circulation, in a restricted area, of three viruses characterized by different M segments, likely resulted from reassortment events. According to the phylogenetic analysis of complete genome sequences, the TOSV belongs to clade A, together with other Italian isolates, while the Ponticelli viruses fall within the Salehabad phlebovirus species.

Results highlight an unexpected diversity of phleboviruses that co-circulate in the same area, suggesting that interactions likely occur amongst them, that can present challenges for their correct identification. The co-circulation of different phleboviruses appears to be common, and the bionomics of sand fly populations seem to play a relevant role. Such a complex situation emphasizes the need for detailed investigations of the biology of these viruses to better characterize their pathogenic potential for mammals, including humans.




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