Hedgehogs as Amplifying Hosts of Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus, China.

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Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) is a tickborne bandavirus mainly transmitted by Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks in East Asia, mostly in rural areas. As of April 2022, the amplifying host involved in the natural transmission of SFTSV remained unidentified. Our epidemiologic field survey conducted in endemic areas in China showed that hedgehogs were widely distributed, had heavy tick infestations, and had high SFTSV seroprevalence and RNA prevalence. After experimental infection of Erinaceus amurensis and Atelerix albiventris hedgehogs with SFTSV, we detected robust but transitory viremias that lasted for 9-11 days. We completed the SFTSV transmission cycle between hedgehogs and nymph and adult H. longicornis ticks under laboratory conditions with 100% efficiency. Furthermore, naive H. longicornis ticks could be infected by SFTSV-positive ticks co-feeding on naive hedgehogs; we confirmed transstadial transmission of SFTSV. Our study suggests that the hedgehogs are a notable wildlife amplifying host of SFTSV in China.
China, Haemaphysalis longicornis, SFTSV, amplifying host, bandavirus, hedgehog, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus, tick, transmission, vector-borne infections, viruses, zoonoses, Animals, Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, Hedgehogs, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Phylogeny, Phlebovirus, Ticks, China
Emerg Infect Dis, 2022, 28 (12), pp. 2491 - 2499