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Virology. 2007 Sep 1;365(2):410-8. Epub 2007 May 8.

Tick-borne flavivirus infection in Ixodes scapularis larvae: development of a novel method for synchronous viral infection of ticks.

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Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


Following a bite from an infected tick, tick-borne flaviviruses cause encephalitis, meningitis and hemorrhagic fever in humans. Although these viruses spend most of their time in the tick, little is known regarding the virus-vector interactions. We developed a simple method for synchronously infecting Ixodes scapularis larvae with Langat virus (LGTV) by immersion in media containing the virus. This technique resulted in approximately 96% of ticks becoming infected. LGTV infection and replication were demonstrated by both viral antigen expression and the accumulation of viral RNA. Furthermore, ticks transmitted LGTV to 100% of the mice and maintained the virus through molting into the next life stage. This technique circumvents limitations present in the current methods by mimicking the natural route of infection and by using attenuated virus strains to infect ticks, thereby making this technique a powerful tool to study both virus and tick determinants of replication, pathogenesis and transmission.

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