Speaker Biography

Wasfi Fares

Pasteur Institute of Tunisia, Tunisia.

Title: The phylogeography and epidemiological history of Toscana virus in Tunisia and the Mediterranean basin region.

Wasfi Fares

Dr. Fares Wasfi has done his PhD and currently working more on the Virology Department. He is a scholar with  89 Research items and Massive project on Midgut bacterial flora and innate immunity in sand flies.


Toscana virus (TOSV), a sandfly-borne virus, is transmitted to human by the bite of sandfly of the subgenus Larroussius, mainly Phlebotomus perniciosus and Phlebotomus perfiliewi species. TOSV infections can lead to the outbreaks of acute meningitis or meningo-encephalitis cases. Until now, the epidemiological status of TOSV infections remains largely unknown. Here, we performed a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis with strict and relaxed molecular clocks to estimate the demographic history of the TOSV infection in a series of isolates sampled between 1971 and 2015. The present results showed that the tmrca of the TOSV in the Mediterranean basin occurs around 1489 (927-1795) with a tmrca in Tunisia around 1981 (1928-2004). Bayesian skyline plot revealed a short decrease in the effective number of infections around 1975 with a net increase during the last 40 years in North and South Mediterranean countries. The phylogeography of TOSV showed that all circulating lineages in the Mediterranean basin and in Tunisia spread from Italy. The present study contributed to reveal the time of origin and patterns of geographical dispersal of the different isolates in the Mediterranean basin, particularly in Tunisia.