• Disease outbreak;
  • epidemiology;
  • genome;
  • phylogeny;
  • West Nile virus

Clin Microbiol Infect 2012; 18: E541–E544


During 2008–2009, several human cases of WNV disease caused by an endemic lineage 1a strain were reported in areas surrounding the Po river in north-eastern Italy. Since 2010, cases have been recorded in nearby northern areas, where, in 2011, both lineage 1a and 2 were detected. We describe here two new WNV complete genome sequences from human cases of WNV infection occurring in 2011 in the Veneto Region. Phylogenetic analysis showed that both genome sequences belonged to lineage 1a and were related to WNV strains of the Western Mediterranean subtype. The novel WNV genomes had high nucleotide and amino acid sequence divergence from each other and from the WNV strain circulating in Italy in 2008–2009. The presence of different WNV strains in a relatively small geographical area is a novel finding with unpredictable impact on human disease that requires further investigation.