A novel tick-borne phlebovirus, closely related to severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus and Heartland virus, is a potential pathogen.

Shen S, et al. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2018.


Tick-borne viral diseases have attracted much attention in recent years because of their increasing incidence and threat to human health. Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome phlebovirus (SFTSV) and Heartland virus (HRTV) were recently identified as tick-borne phleboviruses (TBPVs) in Asia and the United States, respectively, and are associated with severe human diseases with similar clinical manifestations. In this study, we report the first identification and isolation of a novel TBPV named Guertu virus (GTV) from Dermacentor nuttalli ticks in Xinjiang Province, China, where TBPVs had not been previously discovered. Genome sequence and phylogenetic analyses showed that GTV is closely related to SFTSV and HRTV and was classified as a member of the genus Phlebovirus, family Phenuiviridae, order Bunyavirales. In vitro and in vivo investigations of the properties of GTV demonstrated that it was able to infect animal and human cell lines and can suppress type I interferon signaling, similar to SFTSV, that GTV nucleoprotein (NP) can rescue SFTSV replication by replacing SFTSV NP, and that GTV infection can cause pathological lesions in mice. Moreover, a serological survey identified antibodies against GTV from serum samples of individuals living in Guertu County, three of which contained neutralizing antibodies, suggesting that GTV can infect humans. Our findings suggested that this virus is a potential pathogen that poses a threat to animals and humans. Further studies and surveillance of GTV are recommended to be carried out in Xinjiang Province as well as in other locations.



More and more research showing viruses in ticks is coming out.  I pray authorities are taking note.  While the viruses may or may not cause direct symptoms, they certainly must be considered in patient cases as the overall immune system will be impacted and have the potential to make cases more severe.  We desperately need research in this area.

Many practitioners find patients improve when anti-viral medications are used and the immune system is strengthened.

**For more on Thrombocytopenia Syndrome**

(SFTS) is a newly emerging infectious disease. Symptoms and laboratory abnormalities are fever, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), leukocytopenia (low white blood cell count), and elevated liver serum enzyme levels. Multiorgan failure occurs in severe cases, and 6%–30% of case-patients die. The syndrome is caused by the SFTS virus (SFTSV) (genus Phlebovirus, family Bunyaviridae). SFTS case-patients were first reported in China (1) and more recently were reported in Japan (2) and South Korea (3). Two case-patients with symptoms consistent with a similar virus, Heartland virus, were reported in the United States (4).

Ixodid tick species are implicated as vectors of SFTSV (1,5,6). One study described a SFTSV prevalence in Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, a major vector of SFTSV, of 0.46% minimum infection rate in South Korea (7); in another study, SFTSV was detected in ticks that had bitten humans (6). From these studies, we realized that SFTSV was common throughout the country. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of SFTS in South Korea and isolate the SFTSV to analyze its phylogenetic properties.
The major signs and symptoms of the 35 case-patients, including fever (100%), gastrointestinal symptoms (74%), fatigue (74%), thrombocytopenia (100%), and leukocytopenia (100%), were similar to those of case-patients in China and Japan (9).

It is mentioned that the “Asian” SFTSV and the “U.S.” HRTV have similar clinical manifestations.

Please know that ticks do not regard borders and are being transited everywhere by migrating birds and other mammals and even reptiles.  An example of Hemorrhagic fever virus on ticks on migratory birds.  This recent article shows a tick with a disease that shouldn’t be in Germany but is.  They also found one tick to have a tropical form of tick typhus.  1st recorded death in Japan from SFTS and the patient didn’t even have a tick bite but rather a cat bite demonstrating the first recorded mammal to mammal transmission.

The aforementioned haemaphysalis longicornis (Asian Longhorned tick or bush tick) tick is in now in at least 7 U.S. states:  So again, although it’s considered an Asian tick it’s here which means the potential to transmit the diseases considered “Asian” could be here as well.

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