bunyavirus, phlebovirus, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus, SFTSV, ticks, Haemaphysalis longicornis, viruses, vector-borne infections, transmission, transstadial transmission, transovarial transmission, tickborne transmission, vector, host, larvae, nymphs, adult ticks, China
Transstadial and transovarial virus transmission occur among ticks, and transmission to mice can occur through a tick bite.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging hemorrhagic fever in East Asia caused by SFTS virus (SFTSV), a newly discovered phlebovirus. The Haemaphysalis longicornis tick has been suspected to be the vector of SFTSV. To determine whether SFTSV can be transmitted among ticks, from ticks to animals, and from animals to ticks, we conducted transmission studies between developmental stages of H. longicornis ticks and between ticks and mice. Using reverse transcription PCR, we also analyzed the prevalence of SFTSV infection among H. longicornis ticks collected from vegetation in Shandong Province, China. Our results showed a low prevalence of SFTSV among collected ticks (0.2%, 8/3,300 ticks), and we showed that ticks fed on SFTSV-infected mice could acquire the virus and transstadially and transovarially transmit it to other developmental stages of ticks. Furthermore, SFTSV-infected ticks could transmit the virus to mice during feeding. Our findings indicate ticks could serve as a vector and reservoir of SFTSV.