By Mayla Hsu, Ph.D., Director of Science & Research, GLA
The list of tick-borne diseases expanded this week, with a new publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists based in Foshan, China, described a new tick-borne virus infection in 86 patients living in Inner Mongolia and Northern China. The new virus, called Alongshan virus, was named for the town in which the first patient lived. It causes fever, headache, fatigue, and depression. All patients were treated with ribavirin, which targets RNA viruses, and benzylpenicillin, and all recovered. The research team found Alongshan virus in 6.5% of Ixodes persulcatus ticks, and also in mosquitoes collected in the region. There was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. These results show that disease-causing microbes are still being discovered in arthropod vectors, and that we should be careful to avoid tick and mosquito bites.
Figure 1. Geographic Distribution of Patients with Alongshan Virus (ALSV) in China. Areas where surveillance of tickborne pathogens was carried out are shown in blue. Red circles indicate the locations of the patients with confirmed ALSV infection (geographic information is missing for 2 of the 86 patients).
Read the article about the study in NPR.
Read the study in The New England Journal of Medicine.