Survival dynamics of tick-borne encephalitis virus in Ixodes ricinus ticks

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2014 Oct;5(6):962-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2014.07.019. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Biotic factors contributing to the survival of tick-borne viruses in nature are poorly understood. Using tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and its principal European vector, Ixodes ricinus, we examined the relative roles of salivary gland infection, co-feeding transmission, and moulting in virus survival. Virus titres in the salivary glands increased after blood-feeding in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This was observed in ticks infected by inoculation but not in ticks infected by the natural route of co-feeding. Amplification of infection prevalence occurred via co-feeding. However, when larvae or nymphs subsequently moulted, the infection prevalence dramatically declined although this was not observed when ticks were infected by inoculation. Trans-stadial survival is a hitherto overlooked parameter that may contribute to the low incidence of TBEV infection in field-collected I. ricinus ticks.

Keywords: Co-feeding transmission; Ixodes ricinus; Salivary glands; TBEV; Trans-stadial survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / virology*
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne / physiology*
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / transmission
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne / virology*
  • Female
  • Incidence
  • Ixodes / virology*
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Nymph
  • Prevalence
  • Salivary Glands / virology
  • Virus Replication