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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Viral metagenomics reveals the presence of highly divergent quaranjavirus in Rhipicephalus ticks from Mozambique

Cholleti, Harindranath; Hayer, Juliette; Mulandane, Fernando Chanisso; Falk, Kerstin; Fafetine, José; Berg, Mikael; Blomström, Anne-Lie


Background: Ticks are primary vectors for many well-known disease-causing agents that affect human and animal populations globally such as tick-borne encephalitis, CrimeanCongo hemorrhagic fever and African swine fever. In this study, viral metagenomics was used to identify what viruses are present in Rhipicephalus spp. ticks collected in the Zambezi Valley of Mozambique. Methods: The RNA was amplified with sequence-independent single primer amplification (SISPA) and high-throughput sequencing was performed on the Ion Torrent platform. The generated sequences were subjected to quality check and classfied by BLAST. CodonCode aligner and SeqMan were used to assemble the sequences. Results: The majority of viral sequences showed closest sequence identity to the Orthomyxoviridae family, although viruses similar to the Parvoviridae and Coronaviridae were also identified. Nearly complete sequences of five orthomyxoviral segments (HA, NP, PB1, PB2, and PA) were obtained and these showed an amino acid identity of 32–52% to known quaranjaviruses. The sequences were most closely related to the Wellfleet Bay virus, detected and isolated from common eider during a mortality event in the USA. Conclusions: In summary, this study has identified a highly divergent virus with in the Orthomyxoviridae family associated with Rhipicephalus ticks from Mozambique. Further genetic and biological studies are needed in order to investigate potential pathogenesis of the identified orthomyxovirus.


Mozambique; Rhipicephalus; arthropods; quaranjavirus; ticks; viral metagenomics

Published in

Infection Ecology & Epidemiology
2018, Volume: 8, number: 1, article number: 1478585