Isolation of Bhanja Virus from Ticks in Yugoslavia

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  • Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, Medical Faculty, University of Zagreb, Center for Disease Control, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Institute of Public Health, 41000 Zagreb, Yugoslavia

Two strains of Bhanja (BHA) virus, an ungrouped arbovirus, were isolated from Haemaphysalis punctata ticks collected from sheep on the island of Brač in the Yugoslavian Adriatic. Serologic testing gave evidence of the endemicity of BHA virus on the island, and antibody prevalence rates were high for both man (35.8%—ranging locally to 61.3%) and sheep (100%). No antibody was found in 82 small mammals tested. Evidence of a natural cycle involving ticks and sheep, the potential significance of this virus for man and for animals of agricultural importance, and factors related to its epidemiology are discussed.