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Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus in Humans, Domesticated Animals, Ticks, and Mosquitoes, Shaanxi Province, China

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  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.
  • | 2 Shaanxi Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Xi'an, China.
  • | 3 School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • | 4 Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
  • | 5 Baoji Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Baoji, China.
  • | 6 Long County Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of Shaanxi Province, Baoji, China.
  • | 7 Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • | 8 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modelling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

The first human infection with severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) was detected in Shaanxi Province, China, in 2013, although the virus had been reported in 13 other provinces of China since 2010. We collected and analyzed a total of 4,011 samples, including 936 human serum samples, 155 animal serum samples, 895 ticks, 1,950 mosquitoes, 30 midges, and 20 sandflies. SFTSV antibodies were found in 44 human samples (4.7%) with no significant differences between males and females or across counties. The incidence rate of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome was significantly higher among individuals 20–60 years of age. Moreover, SFTSV-specific antibodies were detected in goats (66.7%), cattle (13.2%), and dogs (15.0%), but not in pigs (0%). We detected the virus in Haemaphysalis concinna ticks with a prevalence rate of 21.3% (17/80 pools). All mosquito, midge, and sandfly samples were negative for SFTSV. These results support wide circulation of the virus in western China. Haemaphysalis concinna ticks may serve as a novel SFTSV vector, and the role of these ticks requires further investigation.

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Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Bing Xu, Tsinghua University, No. 30 Shuangqing Road, Beijing 100084, China, E-mail: bingxu@tsinghua.edu.cn or Jingjun Wang, Shaanxi Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 3 Jiandong Road, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China, E-mail: jingjunwang@china.com. † These authors contributed equally to this work.

Financial support: This research was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFA0600104), Health industry research special funds for public welfare projects (201502020), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 81673234), the Shaanxi Provincial department of Science and Technology (grant nos. 2014A7 and 2013K12-04-02), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2015NT06).

Authors' addresses: Huaiyu Tian, Jing Yang, Shanqian Huang, and Bing Xu, State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, E-mails: tianhuaiyu@gmail.com, judyssister@163.com, huangshanqian@gmail.com, and bingxu@tsinghua.edu.cn. Pengbo Yu, Shen Li, Jing Wei, Wen Lv, and Jingjun Wang, Shaanxi Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Xi'an, China, E-mails: sxcdcy@21cn.com, lishen12345@163.com, weijingnwu@gmail.com, lvwen2008@gmail.com, and jingjunwang@china.com. Gerardo Chowell, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, and Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, E-mail: gchowell@gsu.edu. Hui Tian, Baoji Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Baoji, China, E-mail: bjcdcth@sina.com. Zongqi Han, Long County Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of Shaanxi Province, Baoji, China, E-mail: lxcdchzq882@163.com. Sen Zhou and John S. Brownstein, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, E-mails: zhousenapril@gmail.com and john.brownstein@childrens.harvard.edu.

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