MOOD virtual expert meeting series: Identifying critical bird hosts for West Nile virus introduction, emergence and spread in Europe: part 1

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MOOD virtual expert meeting series: Identifying critical bird hosts for West Nile virus introduction, emergence and spread in Europe: part 1

June 24, 2021 @ 14:00 - 17:00 CEST

This workshop is open to all MOOD partners

Link to the conference:

To register to the conference please contact by email Ing. Gonzalo Cervantes :

West Nile virus (WNV) infection is a mosquito-borne zoonosis that has become endemic in a number of European countries. The continuous detection of WNV infection in humans and animals along with birds and mosquitos demonstrates that recently the virus range has dramatically expanded including North, Central and South America as well as Europe and countries facing the Mediterranean Basin (OIE, 2018, EFSA 2021). During the 2020 transmission season, new provinces and regions reported locally-acquired human cases of WNV infection for the first time, thus confirming the further expansion of WNV circulation in Europe. All other human infections in 2020
were reported in countries with known persistent transmission in previous years (ECDC 2021).

Despite the significant progress achieved in Europe in understanding WNV ecology and transmission chain during the last 10 years, many important questions still remain unanswered. For example, the role of different bird species as reservoir and amplifying bird host need to be updated or further assessed along with the evaluation on how global changes may impact on the current and future distribution and abundance of avian species, especially for those with a recognised key role in WNV
transmission and therefore of relevance for a more targeted surveillance. Therefore, the aim of this first meeting is to bring together specialists in infectious disease ecology, wildlife biologist, data analysts, modelers and PH scientists to present and discuss, based on the current state of knowledge, the eco-epidemiological role of different taxa and species of birds of the Old World with the scope to identify those species which are currently recognised to play a major role for WNV circulation in Europe. 

Based on this first selection, a following meeting will be organized with expert in bird ecology and biology to discuss about the ecological drivers affecting avian species of interest under a global change scenario and data source available. In fact, the identification of available host data sources and the definition of a strategy for data sharing and use is critical to implement the MOOD research and innovation plan which aims to develop innovative tools and services for the early detection, assessment, and monitoring of current and potential infectious diseases threats in Europe. The MOOD innovations address the challenges of cross-sectorial data sharing and valorization in a One Health framework based on cross-sectorial collaboration for animal, human and environmental health. User driven design of disease distribution and spread models are expected to produce appropriate outputs needed for the sustainable development of tools adapted to end-user needs.

Meeting agenda

  • 14.00-14.10. Dr. Annapaola Rizzoli. WP2 leader, Fondazione Edmund Mach (Italy). Introduction
    and scope of the meeting
  • 14.10-14.30 Prof. Jan Semenza. Drivers of vector borne disease transmission in Europe
  • 14.30-14.50 Prof. Zdenek Hubalek. Ecology of West Nile virus in the Old World (to be confirmed)
  • 14.50- 15.10 Prof. Norbert Nowotny. Are birds reservoirs/ amplifiers/ victims of West Nile virus:
    some central European observations
  • 15.10-15-30 Dr. Elisa Perez-Ramirez. West Nile transmission dynamics: lessons learned from
    experimental infections in wild birds
  • 15.30-15.50 Dr. Giovanni Savini. Migratory and resident birds: a complementary and extreme
    functional express delivery of WNV in Italy
  • 15.50-16.10 Dr. Mattia Calzolari. Birds involved in WNV circulation in Northern Italy
  • 16.10-16.20. Dr Henk van der Jeugd. Detection of USUV and WNV using live bird sampling in the
    Netherlands 2016-2021
  • 16.20-16.40 Dr. Jordi Figuerola. How mosquito feeding preferences affect the contribution of
    mosquitos and birds to West Nile virus amplification in Europe
  • 16.40-16.50 Dr William Wint. MOOD research activities on vectors
  • 16.50-17.00 Discussion and conclusion


June 24, 2021
14:00 - 17:00 CEST


Gonzalo Cervantes
Annapaola Rizzoli