The transmission ecology of Tahyna orthobunyavirus in Austria as revealed by longitudinal mosquito sampling and blood meal analysis in floodplain habitats

Jeremy V. Camp*, Edwin Kniha, Adelheid G. Obwaller, Julia Walochnik, Norbert Nowotny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Tahyna orthobunyavirus (TAHV) is a mosquito-borne virus that may cause mild flu-like symptoms or neurological symptoms in humans. It is historically associated with floodplain habitats in Central Europe, and the mammalophilic floodwater mosquito, Aedes vexans, is thought to be the principal vector. There are few contemporary reports of TAHV transmission ecology within mosquitoes or their vertebrate hosts, and virus infections are rarely reported (and probably seldom diagnosed). The objectives of this study were to survey the mosquito population for TAHV in three floodwater habitats and describe host usage by the predominant floodwater mosquito species to potentially define TAHV transmission at these foci. Methods: We performed longitudinal mosquito sampling along three major rivers in eastern Austria to characterize the mosquito community in floodplain habitats, and tested for the presence of TAHV in pools of mosquitoes. We characterized TAHV rescued from mosquito pool homogenate by sequencing. We surveyed mosquito host selection by analyzing mosquito blood meals. Results: We identified TAHV in two pools of Ae. vexans captured along the Leitha River. This mosquito, and other floodwater mosquitoes, used large mammals (red deer, roe deer, wild boar) as their hosts. The sequence of the rescued virus was remarkably similar to other TAHV isolates from the region, dating back to the first isolate of TAHV in 1958. Conclusions: In general, we confirmed that TAHV is most likely being transmitted by Ae. vexans, although the precise contribution of vertebrate-amplifying hosts to the ecological maintenance of the virus is unclear. The pattern of host selection matches the estimated exposure of the same large mammal species in the region to TAHV based on a recent serosurvey, but hares were also hosts at the site where TAHV was detected. We also confirm humans as hosts of two floodwater mosquito species, providing a potential mechanism for spillover of TAHV or other mosquito-borne viruses. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number561
JournalParasites and Vectors
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arbovirus
  • Austria
  • Blood meal analysis
  • Mosquito
  • Orthobunyavirus
  • Transmission ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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