Vector prevalence and detection of crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever virus in Golestan province, Iran
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Background & Objectives: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) causes severe disease with fatality rate of 30%. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick, direct contact with the products of infected livestock as well as nosocomially. The disease occurs sporadically throughout many of African, Asian and European countries. Different species of ticks serve either as vector or reservoir for CCHFV. This study was aimed to determine the prevalence of CCHFV in hard ticks (Ixodidae) in the Golestan Province of Iran. Methods: A molecular survey was conducted on hard ticks (Ixodidae) isolated from six counties in Golestan Province, north of Iran during 2014–15. The ticks were identified using morphological characteristics and presence of CCHFV RNA was detected using RT-PCR. Results: Data revealed the presence of CCHFV in 5.3% of the ticks selected for screening. The infected ticks belonged to Hyalomma dromedarii, Hy. anatolicum, Hy. marginatum and Rhipicephalus sanguineus species. Interpretation & Conclusion: The study demonstrated that Hyalomma ticks are the main vectors of CCHFV in Golestan Province. Thus, preventive strategies such as using acaricides and repellents in order to avoid contact with Hyalomma ticks are proposed.