Seroprevalence study on the diffusion of the West Nile Virus among blood donors, healthcare workers, jockeys, grooms and fowlers, veterinary surgeons and hunters in Messina (Italy)


Introduction. West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-transmitted flavivirus widely distributed in Africa, Middle East, Asia, Southern Europe and in 1999 was first identified in the United States as a cause of disease in New York City. It mainly circulates among birds, but can infect many species of mammals. Epidemics can occur in rural as well as urban areas. Methods. 1,280 sera were collected during 2006 from 80 stable workers, as jockey and grooms, 100 fowlers, 500 blood donors, 600 healthcare workers, 100 veterinary surgeons and 100 hunters in the Messina province to evaluate the prevalence of the WNV infection, by ELISA test, in relation to risk exposure or not. Results. None of the 1280 subjects examined has shown positive for antibodies anti WN virus. Conclusion. Among the strategies of control and surveillance, finally, in our opinion, are and will be indispensable the programs of continuous antibody survey in all the risk categories and in the general population in order to succeed to preview which effects could have the presence of infections from WNV, also imported from other zones where the virus is constantly present, in future and which it could be the impact of geographic factors on the epidemic spread of the disease.