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Open AccessArticle

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus: An Emerging Ancient Zoonosis?

1
Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, 119048 Moscow, Russia
2
Laboratory of Postgenomic Technologies, Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health, 105275 Moscow, Russia
3
Laboratory of Biology of Arboviruses, Chumakov Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitides (FSBSI “Chumakov FSC R&D IBP RAS), 108819 Moscow, Russia
4
Martsinovsky Institute of Medical Parasitology, Tropical and Vector Borne Diseases, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, 119435 Moscow, Russia
5
Department of Virology, Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119234 Moscow, Russia
6
Department of Organization and Technology of Immunobiological Preparations, Institute for Translational Medicine and Biotechnology, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020247
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 19 February 2020 / Published: 23 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one of the most important viral zoonosis transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. In this study, all tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) E gene sequences available in GenBank as of June 2019 with known date of isolation (n = 551) were analyzed. Simulation studies showed that a sample bias could significantly affect earlier studies, because small TBEV datasets (n = 50) produced non-overlapping intervals for evolutionary rate estimates. An apparent lack of a temporal signal in TBEV, in general, was found, precluding molecular clock analysis of all TBEV subtypes in one dataset. Within all subtypes and most of the smaller groups in these subtypes, there was evidence of many medium- and long-distance virus transfers. These multiple random events may play a key role in the virus spreading. For some groups, virus diversity within one territory was similar to diversity over the whole geographic range. This is best exemplified by the virus diversity observed in Switzerland or Czech Republic. These two countries yielded most of the known European subtype Eu3 subgroup sequences, and the diversity of viruses found within each of these small countries is comparable to that of the whole Eu3 subgroup, which is prevalent all over Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the deep tree nodes within all three established TBEV subtypes dated less than 300 years back. This could be explained by the recent emergence of most of the known TBEV diversity. Results of bioinformatics analysis presented here, together with multiple field findings, suggest that TBEV may be regarded as an emerging disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: TBEV; flavivirus; Bayesian phylogeny; temporal signal; population growth TBEV; flavivirus; Bayesian phylogeny; temporal signal; population growth
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Deviatkin, A.A.; Kholodilov, I.S.; Vakulenko, Y.A.; Karganova, G.G.; Lukashev, A.N. Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus: An Emerging Ancient Zoonosis? Viruses 2020, 12, 247.

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