Apr 2, 2016

Ecology of the Tick-Borne Phlebovirus Causing Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome in an Endemic Area of China

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Zhifeng LiZheng Xing


Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is caused by SFTS virus (SFTSV), a tick-borne phlebovirus in family Bunyaviridae. Studies have found that humans, domestic and wildlife animals can be infected by SFTSV. However, the viral ecology, circulation, and transmission remain largely unknown. Sixty seven human SFTS cases were reported and confirmed by virus isolation or immunofluorescence assay between 2011 and 2014. In 2013-2014 we collected 9,984 ticks from either vegetation or small wild mammals in the endemic area in Jiangsu, China, and detected SFTSV-RNA by real-time RT-PCR in both questing and feeding Haemaphysalis longicornis and H. flava. Viral RNA was identified in larvae of H. longicornis prior to a first blood meal, which has never been confirmed previously in nature. SFTSV-RNA and antibodies were also detected by RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively, in wild mammals including Erinaceus europaeus and Sorex araneus. A live SFTSV was isolated from Erinaceus europaeus captured during the off tick-feeding season and with a high SFTSV antibody titer. Furthermore, SFTSV antibodies were detected in the migratory birds Anser cygnoides and Streptopelia chinensis using ELISA. The detection of SFTSV-RNA in non-engorged larva...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
Maternal-Fetal Infection Transmission
Immunofluorescence Assay
Hydrotalea flava
Heterostylites longicornis
Chinese white goose
Vertical Disease Transmission

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