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J Neurovirol. 2003 Dec;9(6):577-83.

A Mediterranean arbovirus: the Toscana virus.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Section of Virology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.


Toscana virus (Bunyaviridae family, Phlebovirus genus) is a sandfly fever virus responsible for human neurological infections. Sandfly viruses are transmitted by insect vectors (Phlebotomus species) and the infection is present in climatic areas that allow the life cycle of the vector. The arthropode-borne Toscana virus is the etiologic agent of meningitis, meningoencephalitis, and encephalitis. The frequency of this neuropathic infection increases in the summer months, peaking in August in the endemic Mediterranean areas (Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus). Infection diagnosis is carried out by molecular assays and immunoenzymatic tests, which are rapid and sensitive. Recent studies have investigated the antigenic properties of the viral proteins (nucleoprotein N and surface glycoproteins G1 and G2), to better understand their immunogentic role.

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