Viral Diversity of Tick Species Parasitizing Cattle and Dogs in Trinidad and Tobago

Stephen SameroffRafal Tokarz,Roxanne Albertha Charles,Komal JainAlexandra Oleynik,Xiaoyu Che,Karla Georges,Christine V. Carrington,W. Ian Lipkin &Chris Oura


Ticks are vectors of a wide variety of pathogens that are implicated in mild to severe disease in humans and other animals. Nonetheless, the full range of tick-borne pathogens is unknown. Viruses, in particular, have been neglected in discovery efforts targeting tick-borne agents. High throughput sequencing was used to characterize the virome of 638 ticks, including Rhipicephalus microplus (n = 320), Rhipicephalus sanguineus (n = 300), and Amblyomma ovale (n = 18) collected throughout Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 and 2018. Sequences representing nine viruses were identified, including five novel species within Tymovirales, Bunyavirales, Chuviridae, Rhabdoviridae, and Flaviviridae. Thereafter the frequency of detection of viral sequences in individual tick species was investigated.



Understatement of the year: “Viruses, in particular, have been neglected in discovery efforts targeting tick-borne agents.”

What happens when a person contracts Lyme disease and tick-borne viruses at the same time?
Answer: Nobody knows.

Fact from the past: Dr. Allen Steere, the first to be on the scene in Connecticut’s outbreak, first believed the outbreak to be viral:  He also insisted that Ixodes ticks are the only ones capable of transmitting Lyme and that any long-term damage was due to the patient’s immune system. Dr. Burrascano demonstrated that Steere’s patients that were treated and stated to be “cured,” were still infected by biopsies, cultures, and DNA probes. Steere’s stance is one and the same with the IDSA and the CDC.

Are viruses an unknown entity in Lyme/MSIDS that few have considered?
Answer: I’ve heard enough to make me wonder.