1887

Abstract

The kinetics of African swine fever virus (ASFV) infection in ticks were investigated in specimens collected in the field at different times following an outbreak of the disease in Portugal in 1999 and in ticks infected experimentally with a virus isolated from a tick collected during this outbreak. In ticks collected from the field, initial screening for ASFV was carried out by PCR, followed by attempts to isolate the virus in macrophage cultures. Considering total numbers of ticks tested independently of developmental stages, ASFV DNA was detected in 42.3, 26.4 and 22.4 % of specimens collected at weeks 0, 32 and 63 following the outbreak, respectively. Although virus was not isolated from most of these ticks, the proportion of isolations from large nymphs and adults increased between weeks 0 and 32 from 2 to 9 % and from 5 to 11.5 %, respectively. These results, together with the higher virus titres at week 32, suggest that virus replication occurred. In contrast, virus isolations from small nymphs decreased over this period, from 5 to 1.3 %. At week 63, infection rates decreased for all stages. Experimental infections showed the occurrence of virus replication within 4 weeks post-feeding and maintenance of high titres in almost 100 % of ticks until 20 weeks post-infection. At weeks 41 and 61, a drop in virus titres and infection rates was observed. Relevant to the understanding of African swine fever epidemiology, our results show that ASFV replicates and persists in , but a viral clearance occurs at later times in both natural and experimental infections.

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2006-07-01
2020-01-20
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