The National Reference Laboratory for infections with West Nile virus (WNV) of the FLI has confirmed a total of 13 cases since the beginning of July: 12 cases in different bird species and 1 case in a riding pony. The WNV cases so far detected this year occurred in the federal states and regions that were already affected last year (see map).
It can be assumed that WNV has overwintered successfully in endemic mosquitoes and that further cases will be detected. As last year, in the weeks before the first WNV case, the closely related Usutu virus occurred more frequently in wild birds and led to increased mortality in some regions, especially in blackbirds, but also in owl birds kept in aviaries.
One year ago, on 28 August 2018, the first case of West Nile virus infection was detected in Germany in a great grey owl from Halle a. d. Saale. At the end of the year, the number of officially confirmed infections amounted to 12 birds and 2 horses.
WNV is transmitted by bloodsucking mosquitoes. The most important hosts are birds. In rarer cases, transmission to horses and humans may also occur. Infection with WNV is a notifiable animal disease. There is currently no national regulation for the control of this animal disease, therefore disease control should be based on the Animal Health Act. The Standing Committee on Vaccination in Veterinary Medicine (STIKo Vet) recommends vaccination of horses against WNV in affected areas, especially at the beginning of the mosquito season.
Information on human infections is provided by the Robert Koch Institute, and the situation in Europe is monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC, see below).