Vigilance programme for West Nile fever in Catalonia

West Nile fever is an emerging zoonosis in many sites around the world and, in the last decade, has caused various epidemics with severe consequences for public and animal health.

West Nile virus is a flavivirus that maintains its cycle in a natural manner between mosquitoes and birds and that may occasionally affect other mammals, mainly horses and humans. The main transmission route of this virus is through the bite of infected mosquitoes (principally culicides of the Culex genus); however, other less frequent transmission routes are known such as organ transplants or blood transfusions from infected patients.

To prevent infection (in humans as well as animals) and stop its expansion, an early detection system must be established. For that reason, a system of vigilance has been designed in Catalonia for the main areas of risk, which allows circulation of the disease to de detected and suitable control measures to be established if need be.

CReSA’s participates in the co-ordination and application of the vigilance programme for West Nile fever in Catalonia, along with CReSA’s Viral Diseases Unit, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Action (DAR), the Department of the Environment and Housing (DMAiH) and Mosquito Control Services (SCM).

The principal objective of this programme is to allow early detection of the circulation of the West Nile fever virus in mosquitoes, birds and horses of the main wetland areas in Catalonia.