New pathogen is transmitted by ticks

New pathogen is transmitted by ticks

New dangerous virus is transmitted by tick bite

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, TBE and other diseases. American scientists recently discovered a new dangerous virus that is transmitted by the small bloodsuckers. The so-called Heartland Virus (HRTV) caused symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache and diarrhea in two farmers from the US state of Missouri.

New pathogen persists in tick populations for years So far, tick bites have mainly been associated with infectious diseases such as Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), which can lead to serious illnesses. In 2009, two farmers in Missouri discovered a new dangerous pathogen that is transmitted by ticks. The so-called Heartland Virus (HRTV) triggered symptoms such as tiredness, headache, fever, diarrhea and a lack of white blood cells and platelets in the two men who lived about 100 km apart. The farmers were treated in hospitals, where the US health agency found the previously unknown HRTV virus during analysis. This was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last year.

Now American scientists have found the causative agent in tests as part of their study in other ticks in the region. They published their results in the specialist journal "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene".

"This is pretty strong evidence that the virus has persisted in tick populations for years and that these ticks play an important role in the transmission of the disease," said Harry Savage of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in Fort Collins, Colorado, in the journal.

Ticks transmit dangerous new pathogen in Missouri The researchers discovered the new virus in ten of the 2,100 samples from more than 56,000 ticks collected in Missouri. Nine samples came from the site of one of the two sick farmers. The pathogen has so far only been found in northwest Missouri.

“This is the first study in which HRTV has been isolated from arthropods collected in the field and has included ticks as possible vectors. The tick species Amblyomma americanum is likely to be infected if it is fed by infected hosts at the larval stage. The transmission to humans takes place in spring and early summer when the larvae are abundant and actively look for hosts, ”the researchers write.

Another tick-related pathogen related to the Heartland virus was recently discovered in China. This is the highly dangerous SFTSV (severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus). (ag)

Also read about ticks:
Protection against ticks when staying in the country
Healthy nettles are not weeds
Doctors: Carefully remove ticks with tweezers
TBE and Lyme disease from tick bites
Prevention: Don't panic about ticks
Health: No tick vaccination

Photo credit: T. Hoffmann /

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Video: ASK UNMC! What are the different types of diseases spread by ticks? (September 2020).