Arboviruses with segmented genomes have the potential to reassort in both their vertebrate hosts and arthropod vectors. Reassortment of Thogoto virus, a tick-borne orthomyxo-like virus, has been demonstrated following dual infection of hamsters by temperature-sensitive mutants. To investigate whether similar events can occur in ticks, larvae and nymphs were dually infected by interrupted feeding on viraemic hamsters. Wild-type reassortant virus was isolated from the ticks 12 to 15 days after engorgement. Following moulting, nymphs and adults transmitted reassortant virus to uninfected hamsters. This is the first reported evidence that a tick-borne arbovirus can reassort in a naturally infected arthropod vector. The relative roles of vector and vertebrate host in generating and perpetuating reassortant viruses in nature are discussed.


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