Emergence of human infection with Jingmen tick virus in China: A retrospective study

EBioMedicine. 2019 May;43:317-324. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2019.04.004. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Abstract

Background: A tick-borne segmented RNA virus called Jingmen tick virus (JMTV) was recently identified, variants of which were detected in a non-human primate host and fatal patients with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. We investigated its infectivity and pathogenicity for humans.

Methods: We obtained skin-biopsy, blood and serum samples from patients with tick bites, and used high-throughput sequencing, in situ hybridisation, and serologic testing to diagnose and ascertain the cases of JMTV infection.

Findings: A JMTV strain was isolated from the tick Amblyomma javanense into an embryo-derived tick cell line. We obtained sustained passage of JMTV, and revealed that it was able to accumulate in salivary glands of experimentally infected ticks. Four JMTV-infected patients were identified by high-throughput sequencing of skin biopsies and blood samples. The virus replication in skin tissue was visualised by in situ hybridisation. The four patients all had an itchy or painful eschar at the site of tick bite, with or without lymphadenopathy. Immunohistochemical examination revealed remarkable local inflammation manifested as infiltration by neutrophils. Eight patients were identified by serological testing and showed more severe clinical manifestations. Two Ixodes persulcatus ticks detached from patients were positive for JMTV. All JMTV strains identified in this study formed a well-supported sub-lineage, distinct from those previously reported in China. Interpretation The public significance of JMTV should be highly concerning due to its potential pathogenicity for humans and efficient transmission by potential ticks. FUND: China Natural Science Foundation, State Key Research Development Programme, and United Kingdom Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Keywords: Human infection; Jingmen tick virus; Pathogenicity; Ticks.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • China
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / diagnosis
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology*
  • Flavivirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Flavivirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Flavivirus Infections / transmission
  • Flavivirus Infections / virology*
  • Flavivirus* / classification
  • Flavivirus* / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • RNA, Viral
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serologic Tests
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tick Bites

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • RNA, Viral