Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a central nervous system infection caused by a flavivirus [tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV)], transmitted by ticks and endemic in a large region in Eurasia. We collected 2411 ticks from Finland and Russia in 2003–2008, screened them for TBEV by RT-PCR and isolated and analysed eight strains belonging to all three TBEV subtypes; in addition, we obtained two European-subtype strains from human serum samples. TBEV RNA prevalence in unengorged ticks was approximately 1 % both in the northernmost TBE-endemic areas of Europe in Finland and Russian Karelia, and in Siberia in Buryatia. In Finland, both and ticks were found from distinct areas and, in Russian Karelia, were overlapping in the same study site. TBEV E and NS3 gene sequences obtained showed a variability of 0–4 % within European-subtype strains, 2–9 % for Siberian-subtype strains and 3–13 % for Far Eastern-subtype strains.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Alekseev, A. N., Dubinina, H. V., Jääskeläinen, A. E., Vapalahti, O. & Vaheri, A.(2007). First report on tick-borne pathogens and exoskeleton anomalies in Ixodes persulcatus ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) collected in Kokkola coastal region, Finland. Int J Acarol 33, 253–258.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  2. Asikainen, K., Hänninen, T., Henttonen, H., Niemimaa, J., Laakkonen, J., Andersen, H. K., Bille, N., Leirs, H., Vaheri, A. & Plyusnin, A.(2000). Molecular evolution of Puumala hantavirus in Fennoscandia: phylogenetic analysis of strains from two recolonization routes, Karelia and Denmark. J Gen Virol 81, 2833–2841. [Google Scholar]
  3. Billoir, F., de Chesse, R., Tolou, H., de Micco, P., Gould, E. A. & de Lamballerie, X.(2000). Phylogeny of the genus Flavivirus using complete coding sequences of arthropod-borne viruses and viruses with no known vector. J Gen Virol 81, 781–790. [Google Scholar]
  4. Bormane, A., Lucenko, I., Duks, A., Mavtchoutko, V., Ranka, R., Salmina, K. & Baumanis, V.(2004). Vectors of tick-borne diseases and epidemiological situation in Latvia in 1993–2002. Int J Med Microbiol 293 (Suppl. 37), 36–47. [Google Scholar]
  5. Bourhy, H., Kissi, B., Audry, L., Smreczak, M., Sadkowska-Todys, M., Kulonen, K., Tordo, N., Zmudzinski, J. F. & Holmes, E. C.(1999). Ecology and evolution of rabies virus in Europe. J Gen Virol 80, 2545–2557. [Google Scholar]
  6. Brummer-Korvenkontio, M., Saikku, P., Korhonen, P. & Oker-Blom, N.(1973). Arboviruses in Finland. I. isolation of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus from arthropods, vertebrates, and patients. Am J Trop Med Hyg 22, 382–389. [Google Scholar]
  7. Charrel, R. N., Attoui, H., Butenko, A. M., Clegg, J. C., Deubel, V., Frolova, T. V., Gould, E. A., Gritsun, T. S., Heinz, F. X. & other authors(2004). Tick-borne virus diseases of human interest in Europe. Clin Microbiol Infect 10, 1040–1055.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  8. Cook, S. & Holmes, E. C.(2006). A multigene analysis of the phylogenetic relationships among the flaviviruses (family: Flaviviridae) and the evolution of vector transmission. Arch Virol 151, 309–325.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  9. Ecker, M., Allison, S. L., Meixner, T. & Heinz, F. X.(1999). Sequence analysis and genetic classification of tick-borne encephalitis viruses from Europe and Asia. J Gen Virol 80, 179–185. [Google Scholar]
  10. EpiNorth(2010).A Co-operation Project for Communicable Disease Control in Northern Europe. http://www.epinorth.org/.
  11. Ernek, E., Kozuch, O., Lichard, M. & Nosek, J.(1968). The role of birds in the circulation of tick-borne encephalitis virus in the Tribec region. Acta Virol 12, 468–470. [Google Scholar]
  12. Golovljova, I., Katargina, O., Geller, J., Tallo, T., Mittgenkov, V., Vene, S., Nemirov, K., Kutsenko, A., Kilosanidze, G. & other authors(2008). Unique signature amino acid substitution in Baltic tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) strains within the Siberian TBEV subtype. Int J Med Microbiol 298, 108–120.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  13. Grard, G., Moureau, G., Charrel, R. N., Lemasson, J. J., Gonzalez, J. P., Gallian, P., Gritsun, T. S., Holmes, E. C., Gould, E. A. & de Lamballerie, X.(2007). Genetic characterization of tick-borne flaviviruses: new insights into evolution, pathogenetic determinants and taxonomy. Virology 361, 80–92.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  14. Gritsun, T. S., Lashkevich, V. A. & Gould, E. A.(2003a). Tick-borne encephalitis. Antiviral Res 57, 129–146.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  15. Gritsun, T. S., Frolova, T. V., Zhankov, A. I., Armesto, M., Turner, S. L., Frolova, M. P., Pogodina, V. V., Lashkevich, V. A. & Gould, E. A.(2003b). Characterization of a Siberian virus isolated from a patient with progressive chronic tick-borne encephalitis. J Virol 77, 25–36.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  16. Haglund, M., Forsgren, M., Lindh, G. & Lindquist, L.(1996). A 10-year follow-up study of tick-borne encephalitis in the Stockholm area and a review of the literature: need for a vaccination strategy. Scand J Infect Dis 28, 217–224.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  17. Han, X., Aho, M., Vene, S., Peltomaa, M., Vaheri, A. & Vapalahti, O.(2001). Prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in Ixodes ricinus ticks in Finland. J Med Virol 64, 21–28.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  18. Jääskeläinen, A. E., Tikkakoski, T., Uzcátegui, N. Y., Alekseev, A. N., Vaheri, A. & Vapalahti, O.(2006). Siberian subtype tickborne encephalitis virus, Finland. Emerg Infect Dis 12, 1568–1571.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  19. Kim, S. Y., Yun, S. M., Han, M. G., Lee, I. Y., Lee, N. Y., Jeong, Y. E., Lee, B. C. & Ju, Y. R.(2008). Isolation of tick-borne encephalitis viruses from wild rodents, South Korea. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 8, 7–13.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  20. Kim, S. Y., Jeong, Y. E., Yun, S. M., Lee, I. Y., Han, M. G. & Ju, Y. R.(2009). Molecular evidence for tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks in South Korea. Med Vet Entomol 23, 15–20.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  21. Klaus, C., Hoffmann, B., Hering, U., Mielke, B., Sachse, K., Beer, M. & Süss, J.(2010). Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus prevalence and virus genome characterization in field-collected ticks (Ixodes ricinus) from risk, non-risk and former risk areas of TBE, and in ticks removed from humans in Germany. Clin Microbiol Infect 16, 238–244.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  22. Lindquist, L. & Vapalahti, O.(2008). Tick-borne encephalitis. Lancet 371, 1861–1871.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  23. Mansfield, K. L., Johnson, N., Phipps, L. P., Stephenson, J. R., Fooks, A. R. & Solomon, T.(2009). Tick-borne encephalitis virus – a review of an emerging zoonosis. J Gen Virol 90, 1781–1794.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  24. Melik, W., Nilsson, A. S. & Johansson, M.(2007). Detection strategies of tick-borne encephalitis virus in Swedish Ixodes ricinus reveal evolutionary characteristics of emerging tick-borne flaviviruses. Arch Virol 152, 1027–1034.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  25. Metlin, A. E., Rybakov, S., Gruzdev, K., Neuvonen, E. & Huovilainen, A.(2007). Genetic heterogeneity of Russian, Estonian and Finnish field rabies viruses. Arch Virol 152, 1645–1654.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  26. Pogodina, V. V., Bochkova, N. G., Karan, L. S., Trukhina, A. G., Levina, L. S., Malenko, G. V., Druzhinina, T. A., Lukashenko, Z. S., Dul'keit, O. F. & Platonov, A. E.(2004). The Siberian and Far-Eastern subtypes of tick-borne encephalitis virus registered in Russia's Asian regions: genetic and antigen characteristics of the strains. Vopr Virusol 49, 20–25. [Google Scholar]
  27. Poponnikova, T. V.(2006). Specific clinical and epidemiological features of tick-borne encephalitis in western Siberia. Int J Med Microbiol 296 (Suppl. 40), 59–62.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  28. Puchhammer-Stöckl, E., Kunz, C., Mandl, C. W. & Heinz, F. X.(1995). Identification of tick-borne encephalitis virus ribonucleic acid in tick suspensions and in clinical specimens by a reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction assay. Clin Diagn Virol 4, 321–326.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  29. Randolph, S. E., Green, R. M., Peacey, M. F. & Rogers, D. J.(2000). Seasonal synchrony: the key to tick-borne encephalitis foci identified by satellite data. Parasitology 121, 15–23.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  30. Schrader, C. & Süss, J.(1999). A nested RT-PCR for the detection of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in ticks in natural foci. Zentralbl Bakteriol 289, 319–328.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
  31. Süss, J.(2008). Tick-borne encephalitis in Europe and beyond – the epidemiological situation as of 2007. Euro Surveill 13, 18916. [Google Scholar]
  32. Süss, J., Schrader, C., Falk, U. & Wohanka, N.(2004). Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in Germany – epidemiological data, development of risk areas and virus prevalence in field-collected ticks and in ticks removed from humans. Int J Med Microbiol 293 (Suppl. 37), 69–79. [Google Scholar]
  33. Süss, J., Klaus, C., Diller, R., Schrader, C., Wohanka, N. & Abel, U.(2006). TBE incidence versus virus prevalence and increased prevalence of the TBE virus in Ixodes ricinus removed from humans. Int J Med Microbiol 296 (Suppl. 40), 63–68. [Google Scholar]
  34. Thiel, H. J., Collett, M. S., Gould, E. A., Heinz, F. X., Houghton, M., Meyers, G., Purcell, R. H. & Rich, S. M.(2005). Family Flaviviridae. In Virus Taxonomy: Eighth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, pp. 981–998. Edited by Fauquet, C. M., Mayo, M. A., Maniloff, J., Desselberger, U. & Ball, L. A.. San Diego, CA. : Elsevier Academic Press. [Google Scholar]
  35. Tuomi, J. & Brummer-Korvenkontio, M.(1965). Antibodies against viruses of the tick-borne encephalitis group in cattle sera in Finland. Ann Med Exp Biol Fenn 43, 149–154. [Google Scholar]
  36. Waldenström, J., Lundkvist, Å., Falk, K. I., Garpmo, U., Bergström, S., Lindegren, G., Sjöstedt, A., Mejlon, H., Fransson, T. & other authors(2007). Migrating birds and tickborne encephalitis virus. Emerg Infect Dis 13, 1215–1218.[CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...


vol. , part 11, pp. 2706–2712

Patient serum virus-isolation experiments

Virus strains used in phylogenetic analyses

[ Single PDF file] (101 KB)


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error