On July 24, 2012 the National Reference Laboratory for West Nile virus at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) confirmed the detection of Usutu virus (USUV) in two dead blackbirds from Rhineland-Palatinate. The sample was sent in by the State Diagnostic Agency Koblenz. Some days earlier, the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute (BNI) and the Action group for mosquito control (KABS) had already reported detection of the virus in several blackbirds. BNI und FLI closely cooperate in the surveillance of these Usutu virus cases.
Independently, both partners have been conducting monitoring activities for zoonotic pathogens (e.g. West Nile virus): in wild birds (Seidowski et al., 2010; Ziegler et al., 2010) and in mosquitoes (Jöst et. al. 2011).
We ask the State Veterinary Agencies to send samples of dead birds without delay to the Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases of the FLI (address see below). If requested, the FLI will assist in the establishment of USUV diagnostics at the diagnostic agencies (quantitative real-time RT-PCR).