Enhancement of tick-borne encephalitis virus transmission by tick salivary gland extracts.
Labuda M., Jones LD., Williams T., Nuttall PA.
To investigate the role of ticks in TBE virus transmission, salivary gland extract (SGE) was derived from partially fed female Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor reticulatus and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus ticks. Guinea-pigs were infested with uninfected R. appendiculatus nymphs and inoculated with a mixture of TBE virus and SGE or with virus alone. The number of ticks which on average acquired virus from feeding on animals inoculated with TBE virus and SGE from partially fed ticks was 4-fold greater than the number that became infected by feeding on animals inoculated with virus alone or virus plus SGE from unfed I. ricinus. Viraemia was detected in 67% of guinea-pigs inoculated with virus plus SGE compared to 30% of guinea-pigs inoculated with virus alone. Virus titres in the blood were similar for both groups of animals [range 2.0-2.8 log10 plaque-forming units (PFU)/ml of blood]; however, the number of ticks that became infected was significantly higher on animals inoculated with virus plus SGE from partially fed ticks. No significant difference was observed with respect to the tick species used to derive SGE. The results indicate that TBE virus transmission is enhanced by factor(s) associated with the salivary glands of feeding ticks, and that these factor(s) may facilitate efficient transmission of TBE virus between infected and uninfected ticks even when they feed on hosts that have no detectable viraemia.