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At least 38 viral species are transmitted by ticks. Virus-tick-vertebrate host relationships are highly specific and less than 10% of all tick species (Argasidae and Ixodidae) are known to play a role as vectors of arboviruses. However, a few tick species transmit several (e.g. Ixodes ricinus, Amblyomma variegatum) or many (I. uriae) tick-borne viruses. Tick-borne viruses are found in six different virus families (Asfarviridae, Reoviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Orthomyxoviridae, Bunyaviridae, Flaviviridae) and at least 9 genera. Some as yet unassigned tick-borne viruses may belong to a seventh family, the Arenaviridae. With only one exception (African swine fever virus, family Asfarviridae) all tick-borne viruses (as well as all other arboviruses) are RNA viruses. Tick-borne viruses are found in all the RNA virus families in which insect-borne members are found, with the exception of the family Togaviridae. Some tick-borne viruses pose a significant threat to the health of humans (Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus) or livestock (African swine fever virus, Nairobi sheep disease virus). Key challenges are to determine the molecular adaptations that allow tick-borne viruses to infect and replicate in both tick and vertebrate cells, and to identify the principal ecological determinants of tick-borne virus survival.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Parasitology

Publication Date

2004

Volume

129 Suppl

Pages

S221 - S245

Keywords

African Swine Fever, African Swine Fever Virus, Animals, Arachnid Vectors, Arbovirus Infections, Arboviruses, Host-Parasite Interactions, Humans, RNA Virus Infections, RNA Viruses, Tick-Borne Diseases, Ticks