Tick-borne virus transmission was examined using guinea-pigs and hamsters previously infested with ticks. Guinea-pigs developed immunity to after a single exposure to the ticks. Nymphal and adult stages that fed on resistant guinea-pigs had increased mortality during feeding, and reduced engorged weights. Egg production from female ticks fed on resistant hosts fell by at least 50%. Guinea-pigs maintained high levels of immunity to tick infestation for at least 210 days after the initial exposure. In contrast, hamsters did not develop resistance to ticks even after three or four infestations. adults infected with Thogoto (THO) virus (donors) were allowed to co-feed with uninfected nymphs (recipients) on either resistant or naive guinea-pigs. The number of recipient ticks that acquired virus was significantly reduced on resistant guinea-pigs. In contrast, feeding on pre-infested hamsters did not affect tick-borne transmission of THO virus. Host resistance to tick infestation, if prevalent in nature, may severely limit the spread of tick-borne viruses. Such an effect could result directly from a reduction in the number of ticks that acquire virus, or indirectly from poor egg production (in the case of viruses maintained in ticks by vertical transmission) and reduced survival of ticks fed on resistant hosts.


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