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Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2012 Dec;3(4):213-21. doi: 10.1016/j.phrp.2012.10.004.

Prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ixodid ticks collected from the republic of Korea during 2011-2012.

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  • 1Division of Arboviruses, Korea National Institute of Health, Osong, Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

In this study, we demonstrated that TBEV-infected ticks have been distributed in the ROK, combined with our previous results. These results suggest that TBEV may exist in the ROK, and H. longicornis, H. flava, and I. nipponensis may be potential vectors of TBEV. In addition, these results emphasize the need for further epidemiological research of TBEV.

METHODS:

We examined for the presence of RNA of TBEV by reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nested PCR) using ixodid ticks captured in 25 localities of 10 provinces. Ticks were collected by the flagging and dragging method or using sentinel BG traps at forests, grass thickets, and grassland. A total of 13,053 ticks belonging to two genera and four species were collected and pooled (1292 pools), according to collection site, species of tick, and developmental stage.

RESULTS:

Among 1292 pools, the envelope (E) protein gene of TBEV was detected using RT-nested PCR in 10 pools (3 pools of the 1,331 adult ticks and 7 pools of the 11,169 nymph ticks) collected from Gangwon-do province, Jeonrabuk-do province, and Jeju Island. The minimum infection rates for TBEV of Haemaphysalis longicornis, Haemaphysalis flava, and Ixodes nipponensis were 0.06%, 0.17%, and 2.38%, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis based on the partial E protein gene was performed to identify relationships between the TBEV strains. This showed that 10 Korean strains clustered with the Western subtype.

CONCLUSION:

In this study, we investigated the prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in ixodid ticks from various regions of the Republic of Korea (ROK) during 2011-2012 to identify whether TBEV is circulating and to determine the endemic regions of TBEV.

KEYWORDS:

Republic of Korea; Western subtype; envelope gene; ixodid ticks; tick-borne encephalitis virus

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