The high genetic variation of viruses of the genus Nairovirus reflects the diversity of their predominant tick hosts.
The genus Nairovirus (family Bunyaviridae) contains seven serogroups consisting of 34 predominantly tick-borne viruses, including several associated with severe human and livestock diseases [e.g., Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and Nairobi sheep disease (NSD), respectively]. Before this report, no comparative genetic studies or molecular detection assays had been developed for this virus genus. To characterize at least one representative from each of the seven serogroups, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) primers targeting the L polymerase-encoding region of the RNA genome of these viruses were successfully designed based on conserved amino acid motifs present in the predicted catalytic core region. Sequence analysis showed the nairoviruses to be a highly diverse group, exhibiting up to 39.4% and 46.0% nucleotide and amino acid identity differences, respectively. Virus genetic relationships correlated well with serologic groupings and with tick host associations. Hosts of these viruses include both the hard (family Ixodidae) and soft (family Argasidae) ticks. Virus phylogenetic analysis reveals two major monophyletic groups: hard tick and soft tick-vectored viruses. In addition, viruses vectored by Ornithodoros, Carios, and Argas genera ticks also form three separate monophyletic lineages. The striking similarities between tick and nairovirus phylogenies are consistent with possible coevolution of the viruses and their tick hosts. Fossil and phylogenetic data placing the hard tick-soft tick divergence between 120 and 92 million years ago suggest an ancient origin for viruses of the genus Nairovirus. (+info)
Ixodid and argasid tick species and west nile virus.
Control of West Nile virus (WNV) can only be effective if the vectors and reservoirs of the virus are identified and controlled. Although mosquitoes are the primary vectors, WNV has repeatedly been isolated from ticks. Therefore, tick-borne transmission studies were performed with an ixodid (Ixodes ricinus) and an argasid tick species (Ornithodoros moubata). Both species became infected after feeding upon viremic hosts, but I. ricinus ticks were unable to maintain the virus. In contrast, O. moubata ticks were infected for at least 132 days, and the infection was maintained through molting and a second bloodmeal. Infected O. moubata ticks transmitted the virus to rodent hosts, albeit at a low level. Moreover, the virus was nonsystemically transmitted between infected and uninfected O. moubata ticks co-fed upon uninfected hosts. Although ticks are unlikely to play a major role in WNV transmission, our findings suggest that some species have the potential to act as reservoirs for the virus. (+info)
African swine fever virus DNA in soft ticks, Senegal.