The virome of Rhipicephalus, Dermacentor and Haemaphysalis ticks from Eastern Romania includes novel viruses with potential relevance for public health

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2022 May;69(3):1387-1403. doi: 10.1111/tbed.14105. Epub 2021 Apr 27.


Ticks are involved in the transmission of various pathogens and several tick-borne diseases cause significant problems for the health of humans and livestock. The composition of viral communities in ticks and their interactions with pathogens, is poorly understood, particularly in Eastern Europe, an area that represents a major hub for animal-arthropod vectors exchanges (e.g., via bird migrations). The aim of this study was to describe the virome of Dermacentor sp., Rhipicephalus sp. and Haemaphysalis sp. ticks collected from relatively little studied regions of Romania (Iasi and Tulcea counties) located at the intersection of various biotopes, countries and routes of migrations. We also focused the study on viruses that could potentially have relevance for human and animal health. In 2019, more than 500 ticks were collected from the vegetation and from small ruminants and analysed by high-throughput transcriptome sequencing. Among the viral communities infecting Romanian ticks, viruses belonging to the Flaviviridae, Phenuiviridae and Nairoviridae families were identified and full genomes were derived. Phylogenetic analyses placed them in clades where mammalian isolates are found, suggesting that these viruses could constitute novel arboviruses. The characterization of these communities increase the knowledge of the diversity of viruses in Eastern Europe and provides a basis for further studies about the interrelationship between ticks and tick-borne viruses.

Keywords: Eastern Europe; next-generation sequencing; ticks; viruses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dermacentor*
  • Humans
  • Ixodidae*
  • Mammals
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health
  • RNA Viruses*
  • Rhipicephalus*
  • Romania / epidemiology
  • Virome
  • Viruses*