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Open AccessCommunication

First Isolation and Phylogenetic Analyses of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus in Lower Saxony, Germany

1
Institute for Parasitology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bünteweg 17, 30559 Hanover, Germany
2
Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bünteweg 17, 30559 Hanover, Germany
3
Parasitology Unit, University of Hohenheim, Emil-Wolff-Straße 34, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
4
Institute of Microbiology of the Bundeswehr, Neuherbergstraße 11, 80937 Munich, Germany
5
The Governmental Institute of Public Health of Lower Saxony (NLGA), Roesebeckstraße 4-6, 30449 Hannover, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050462
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is the most important tick-borne arboviral disease in Europe. Presently, the main endemic regions in Germany are located in the southern half of the country. Although recently, sporadic human TBE cases were reported outside of these known endemic regions. The detection and characterization of invading TBE virus (TBEV) strains will considerably facilitate the surveillance and assessment of this important disease. In 2018, ticks were collected by flagging in several locations of the German federal state of Lower Saxony where TBEV-infections in humans (diagnosed clinical TBE disease or detection of TBEV antibodies) were reported previously. Ticks were pooled according to their developmental stage and tested for TBEV-RNA by RT-qPCR. Five of 730 (0.68%) pools from Ixodes spp. ticks collected in the areas of “Rauher Busch” and “Barsinghausen/Mooshuette” were found positive for TBEV-RNA. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole genomes and E gene sequences revealed a close relationship between the two TBEV isolates, which cluster with a TBEV strain from Poland isolated in 1971. This study provides first data on the phylogeny of TBEV in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, outside of the known TBE endemic areas of Germany. Our results support the hypothesis of an east-west invasion of TBEV strains in Western Europe. View Full-Text
Keywords: tick-borne encephalitis virus; tick; phylogenetic analysis; surveillance; field study tick-borne encephalitis virus; tick; phylogenetic analysis; surveillance; field study
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MDPI and ACS Style

Boelke, M.; Bestehorn, M.; Marchwald, B.; Kubinski, M.; Liebig, K.; Glanz, J.; Schulz, C.; Dobler, G.; Monazahian, M.; Becker, S.C. First Isolation and Phylogenetic Analyses of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus in Lower Saxony, Germany. Viruses 2019, 11, 462.

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