Prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in Ixodes ricinus from a novel endemic area of North Eastern Italy

P. D'Agaro, E. Martinelli, P. Burgnich, F. Nazzi, S. Del Fabbro, A. Iob, M. Ruscio, P. Pischiutti, C. Campello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Alpine area of extreme North Eastern Italy the first autochthonous case of TBE was reported in 1998 and was followed by 45 cases during the period 2001-2007, thus defining this area as definitely endemic. An ecological survey evaluated the tick density and the Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) infection prevalence in tick collected in selected sites. In addition, TBE strains were characterized by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Overall, 2,361 ticks (2,198 nymphs and 163 adults) of the Ixodes ricinus L. species collected during 2005 and 2006 were examined. Five samples were positive for TBEV, corresponding to an overall prevalence rate of 0.21%. When analyzed by place, TBEV was discovered in three sites where the highest tick density was found. The difference of prevalence between high and low density areas tested to be statistically significant (P = 0.028). Phylogenetic analysis showed that four sequences clustered with the Neudoerfl prototype, while the other clustered with the Isosaari 17 strain and with a number of Slovenian isolates. In addition, a sequence detected in archival samples from one human case segregated with another variant, namely the Swedish Torö strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-316
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Italy
  • Ixodes ricinus
  • Prevalence
  • Sequencing
  • TBEV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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