Calzolari M, P Bonilauri, A Grisendi, G Dalmonte, A Vismarra, D Lelli, C Chiapponi, R Bellini, A Lavazza, M Dottori
Several viruses can be transmitted by mosquitoes. We searched some of these viruses in 20,778 mosquitoes, collected in 95 traps on the plains of Emilia-Romagna (North of Italy) in 2021. We detected West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) in pools of Culex (Cx.) pipiens. In addition, we detected two insect-specific flaviviruses in three pools of Aedes (Ae.) caspius and in two of Ae. vexans. Tahyna virus (TAHV) was detected in six pools, three of Ae. caspius and three of Cx. pipiens, and one isolated strain was obtained from one of the Ae. caspius pools. Moreover, we detected TAHV in pools of several mosquito species (Ae. caspius, Ae. vexans, Ae. albopictus, Anopheles maculipennis s.l.) collected in the previous year of surveillance. Our data indicate Ae. caspius as the species most infected with TAHV in the surveyed area. Together with the likely plasticity of the cycle, we reported strong genome stability of the TAHV, probably linked to a successful adaptation of the virus to its ecological niche. Interestingly, in six pools of Cx. pipiens we detected two associated viruses among USUV, WNV, TAHV and all the three viruses in two pools. This result allows us to assume the presence of particular conditions that prompt the circulation of arboviruses, creating the conditions for viral hot spots. While no human diseases related to Tahyna virus were reported in Italy, its detection over the years suggests that it is worth investigating this virus as a potential cause of disease in humans in order to assess its health burden.