Emerging Tickborne Viral Infections: What Wilderness Medicine Providers Need to Know
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine
Ticks are versatile vectors of infectious diseases and transmit a broad range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Ticks harbor pathogens without infection and share pathogens with other ticks while feeding together on a host. The primary objective of this review is to identify tickborne viral pathogens in the United States, focusing on emerging pathogens. Additional objectives include describing the epidemiology of tick-transmitted viruses, identifying the most common tick vectors of viral pathogens in the United States, identifying the most common tick-transmitted viruses worldwide, and recommending effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of tickborne viral infections. Flaviviruses transmitted by ixodid ticks cause most tickborne viral infections that present clinically as either encephalitis or hemorrhagic fever. Recently, several new tickborne viruses have emerged in the United States, including Bourbon virus, Heartland virus, Powassan virus, and the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus transmitted by a tick recently introduced from China, the Asian long-horned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis). In most cases, there are no specific drug therapies for tickborne viral infections, and treatment is supportive. Vaccination, personal protection, landscape management, and wildlife management are all effective strategies for the primary prevention and control of tickborne viral infectious diseases.
Diaz, James H., "Emerging Tickborne Viral Infections: What Wilderness Medicine Providers Need to Know" (2020). School of Public Health Faculty Publications. 277.