Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.19. (2011) p.1-10.

Increased bird of prey mortality in Hungary due to West Nile virus infection
Tamás Bakonyi, Károly Erdélyi

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West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito borne pathogen with a World-wide distribution.
The natural hosts of this virus are birds. Although WNV infection often remains subclinical,
certain bird and mammal species (particularly horses and humans) may develop febrile illness, and even lethal encephalitis. An exotic strain of WNV has been detected in 2004 in a goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) which succumbed to encephalitis in South-Eastern Hungary. The same strain was detected in 2005 in a goshawk, sparrow-hawks (Accipiter nisus) and a sheep, and again in 2007 in goshawks, red-footed falcons (Falco vespertinus), domestic geese and in a horse. Up to 2007 all cases were detected in the Great Plain region of the country. In 2008, however, the virus strain suddenly spread all over Hungary. During the epizootic season the virus was detected post mortem in the organs of 12 goshawks and one Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus). The samples were collected in the surroundings of Budapest, and from the Transdanubian regions. The virus also emerged in the eastern regions of Austria, and caused further wild bird mortality.