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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.3201/eid1004.030517

Type

Journal article

Journal

Emerg Infect Dis

Publication Date

04/2004

Volume

10

Pages

653 - 657

Keywords

Animals, Argasidae, Female, Insect Vectors, Ixodes, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, West Nile Fever