Transstadial and Horizontal Transmission of Rift Valley Fever Virus in Hyalomma Truncatum

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  • U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland

We exposed Hyalomma truncatum and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus to Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus in order to assess the possible role of these ticks as enzootic/epizootic RVF vectors. The virus replicated in H. truncatum after intracoelomic inoculation, and a minimum transmission rate of 17% was achieved after 15 days intrinsic incubation. The virus persisted at least 58 days in these ticks. Virus was also shown to pass transstadially from inoculated H. truncatum nymphs to adults, with peak viral titers reaching 103.5 plaque-forming units (PFU) in adult males after they were provided with bloodmeals. Virus was recovered from adult females 121 days after they were inoculated as nymphs. Viral titers peaked in inoculated male ticks after dropping off a host (mean titer = 104.3 PFU). RVF virus was not detected in pools of eggs and larval progeny from 11 infected female H. truncatum. H. truncatum larvae and nymphs did not become infected after ingesting > 102.0 PFU while feeding on a RVF viremic hamster. The number of infected specimens declined rapidly after RVF virus was inoculated into R. appendiculatus adults, and virus was undetectable 12 days post-inoculation.

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