Bahig virus (Tete group) in naturally- and transovarially-infectedHyalomma marginatum ticks from Egypt and Italy

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Summary

Arboviruses of the Tete group (Tete, Bahig, Matruh, Tsuruse) were previously recorded only from avian blood and organs from South Africa, Egypt, Italy, and Japan. We report Bahig virus, identified by complement-fixation and neutralization teats, from 2 subspecies ofHyalomma marginatum (family Ixodidae) ticks. One isolate was from larvae of the African subspecies,H. marginatum rufipes Koch, parasitizing a northward-migrating common wheatear,Oenanthe oenanthe subsp., in Egypt. Other isolates were from transovarially-infected F1 larvae and nymphs reared from an engorged female of the Eurasian subspecies,H. m. marginatum Koch, taken from a race horse near Naples, Italy. Transovarial transmission is relatively rarely documented among arboviruses. BothH. marginatum subspecies have already been implicated as vectors of pathogens causing serious human diseases in Eurasia and Africa. The present findings indicate the need for field and laboratory investigations of Tete group epidemiology and factors possibly involving human infections.