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RNA viruses of Amblyomma variegatum and Rhipicephalus microplus and cattle susceptibility in the French Antilles

Gondard M., Temmam S., Devillers E., Pinarello V., Bigot T., Chrétien D., Aprelon R., Vayssier-Taussat M., Albina E., Eloit M., Moutailler S.. 2020. Viruses, 12 : 23 p..

DOI: 10.3390/v12020144

Ticks transmit a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, parasites and viruses. Over the last decade, numerous novel viruses have been described in arthropods, including ticks, and their characterization has provided new insights into RNA virus diversity and evolution. However, little is known about their ability to infect vertebrates. As very few studies have described the diversity of viruses present in ticks from the Caribbean, we implemented an RNA-sequencing approach on Amblyomma variegatum and Rhipicephalus microplus ticks collected from cattle in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Among the viral communities infecting Caribbean ticks, we selected four viruses belonging to the Chuviridae, Phenuiviridae and Flaviviridae families for further characterization and designing antibody screening tests. While viral prevalence in individual tick samples revealed high infection rates, suggesting a high level of exposure of Caribbean cattle to these viruses, no seropositive animals were detected. These results suggest that the Chuviridae- and Phenuiviridae-related viruses identified in the present study are more likely tick endosymbionts, raising the question of the epidemiological significance of their occurrence in ticks, especially regarding their possible impact on tick biology and vector capacity. The characterization of these viruses might open the door to new ways of preventing and controlling tick-borne diseases.

Mots-clés : vecteur de maladie; metastigmata; virus; bétail; phylogénie; Épidémiologie; antilles françaises; guadeloupe; martinique; france

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