Heartland virus (HRTV; Bunyaviridae: Phlebovirus) has recently emerged as a causative agent of human disease characterized by thrombocytopenia and leukopenia in the United States. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum L.) has been implicated as a vector. To identify candidate vertebrate amplification hosts associated with enzootic maintenance of the virus, sera and ticks were sampled from 160 mammals (8 species) and 139 birds (26 species) captured near 2 human case residences in Andrew and Nodaway Counties in northwest Missouri. HRTV-specific neutralizing antibodies were identified in northern raccoons (42.6%), horses (17.4%), white-tailed deer (14.3%), dogs (7.7%), and Virginia opossums (3.8%), but not in birds. Virus isolation attempts from sera and ticks failed to detect HRTV. The high antibody prevalence coupled with local abundance of white-tailed deer and raccoons identifies these species as candidate amplification hosts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases