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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-39

Detection of West Nile virus by real-time PCR in crows in northern provinces of Iran

1 Applied Virology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Students Research Committee, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr Ruhollah Dorostkar
Applied Virology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.308797

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Background & objectives: West Nile virus (WNV) is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virion, that belongs to the Flaviviridae family. This virus is preserved in a bird-mosquito cycle that is capable of inducing diseases as a dead-end or endpoint host in humans as well as horses. In 2016, a suspicious case of crow population death was reported by the Department of Environment, Ministry of Health, Iran. Considering the mass migration of birds together with the WNV-related symptoms, including uncoordinated walking, ataxia, inability to fly, lack of awareness, and abnormal body posture, it was necessary to further investigate the possible causes of this incident. The objective of this study was molecular detection of WNV in crows utilizing the real-time PCR method in the northern provinces of Iran. Methods: A total of 12 crows (8 dead, 4 alive) with a possible WNV infection, were collected from the northern provinces of Iran (Golestan, Mazandaran, and Guilan). A tissue sample of the liver, kidney, or lung was collected from all the crows, and RNA was isolated using an RNA extraction kit. A one-step real-time PCR method using a TaqMan probe was used for virus detection. Results: All the infected crows were positive for WNV. The 132-bp real-time PCR amplicon of the genome was detected in all the samples. Comparative phylogenetic analysis revealed that WNV isolated from Iran clustered with strains from the USA, Hungary, and Culex pipiens. Interpretation & conclusion: The WNV genome sequence was detected in all the infected crows. The results confirmed the connection of this isolation with clade1a strains. Hence, determining the epidemiologic and prevalence characteristics of the WNV for transmission control is of critical importance in Iran.

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