Scientists have isolated a new orthonairovirus from two patients showing acute febrile illness with thrombocytopenia and leukopenia after tick bite in Hokkaido, Japan.
They cause sometimes fatal febrile illnesses in humans and other animals.
Of 15 species within the genus, four species comprise known human pathogens:
- Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus
- Nairobi sheep disease virus
- Dugbe virus
- Kasokero virus
The newly-discovered orthonairovirus, named Yezo virus (YEZV), is the causative agent of an acute febrile illness characterized by thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, and elevation of liver enzymes and ferritin.
“At least seven people have been infected with this new virus in Japan since 2014,” said Dr. Keita Matsuno, a virologist in the International Institute for Zoonosis Control at Hokkaido University.
The Yezo virus was discovered after a 41-year-old man was admitted to the hospital in 2019 with fever and leg pain after being bitten by an arthropod believed to be a tick. (See link for article)
- Patient also had gait disturbance, and appetite loss
- A second patient had similar symptoms
- Genetic analysis of blood samples showed a virus closely related to Sulina virus and Tamdy virus, detected in Romania and Uzbekistan, respectively.
- They found antibodies in local deer, raccoons, and the RNA in 3 major species of ticks
- Researchers state it’s highly likely that the virus causes illness when transmitted via ticks
- The team’s paper was published in the journal Nature Communications
F. Kodama et al. 2021. A novel nairovirus associated with acute febrile illness in Hokkaido, Japan. Nat Commun 12, 5539; doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25857-0