Characterization of overwintering sites of Haemaphysalis longicornis (Acari: Ixodidae) and tick infection rate with severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus from eight provinces in South Korea

Joo Young Kim, Minhyung Jung, Jung Wook Kho, Hyunsung Song, Kyung Hwan Moon, Young Ho Kim, Doo Hyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Haemaphysalis longicornis (Acari: Ixodidae) is an important vector of pathogens causing tick-borne diseases such as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in eastern Asia. Although an understanding of the overwintering ecology of ticks is fundamental to management of this vector, its winter biology remains unclear. Therefore, we conducted a field survey from eight provinces in South Korea to characterize overwintering sites of H. longicornis and investigate their SFTS virus infection rates. First, we conducted flagging which consists of horizontal sweeping of a 1 m2 cloth back-and-forth to collect ticks that may exhibit questing behaviors in four different landscapes: grassland, shrub, coniferous forest, and deciduous forest. From 640 sweeps of flagging (where each sweep covered 3.8 m2), we collected five unfed ixodid ticks. However, H. longicornis was not found. After the flagging, to locate overwintering ticks, we inspected a total of 679 samples consisting of three different structures: ground (leaf litter, soil surface, and topsoil layer), rocks, and dead trees. From the samples inspected, 85 unfed overwintering ixodid ticks were found. Haemaphysalis longicornis was the dominant species (88 %), and mostly nymphs were collected (94 %). This species was collected from ground samples, especially from the topsoil layer. Most H. longicornis were found in herbaceous landscapes such as grassland (46 %) and shrub (52 %). SFTS virus was found in 3 out of 38 pools of unfed nymphs (minimal infection rate: 4 %). Our results can serve as baseline information for the development of vector management programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101490
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Longhorned tick
  • Overwintering ecology
  • Vector biology

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