Orlova et al.
Tick-borne encephalitis in the Russian Caucasus: Virus was detected for the first time on the border of Europe and Asia Minor
Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2024;24(3):177-180. doi:10.1089/vbz.2023.0038

TBE cases are widely reported in Russia. However, little is known about TBE virus in the Caucasus (Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Dagestan, Stavropol Krai, Rostov Oblast).

A collection of reptiles collected from different years in the Caucasus region and deposed in a museum in Saint Peterburg were analyzed for ticks and pathogens. Four tick species could be identified: Ixodes ricinus, Haemophysalis punctata, H. caucasia and Hyalomma marginatum.

In one specimen of I. ricinus, detached from the Caspian green lizard Lacertus strigata, from Stavropol Krai, TBE virus specific genome sequences could be detected. Phylogenetic analyses revealed the Siberian subtype (Zausaev group).

The authors discussed that the role of lizards in the circulation of TBE virus in natural foci has so far insufficiently been studied.

TBE virus has for the first time been detected in the Caucasian region of Russia.

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