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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 04




First Indications of Omsk Haemorrhagic Fever Virus beyond Russia.


Wagner E, Shin A, Tukhanova N, Turebekov N, Nurmakhanov T, Sutyagin V, Berdibekov A, Maikanov N, Lezdinsh I, Shapiyeva Z, Shevtsov A, Freimüller K, Peintner L, Ehrhardt C, Essbauer S
Viruses. 2022 Apr 04; 14(4).
PMID: 35458484.


(OHFV) is the agent leading to Omsk haemorrhagic fever (OHF), a viral disease currently only known in Western Siberia in Russia. The symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain, cough and haemorrhages. The transmission cycle of OHFV is complex. Tick bites or contact with infected small mammals are the main source of infection. The Republic of Kazakhstan is adjacent to the endemic areas of OHFV in Russia and febrile diseases with haemorrhages occur throughout the country-often with unclear aetiology. In this study, we examined human cerebrospinal fluid samples of patients with suspected meningitis or meningoencephalitis with unknown origins for the presence of OHFV RNA. Further, reservoir hosts such as rodents and ticks from four Kazakhstan regions were screened for OHFV RNA to clarify if this virus could be the causative agent for many undiagnosed cases of febrile diseases in humans in Kazakhstan. Out of 130 cerebrospinal fluid samples, two patients (1.53%) originating from Almaty city were positive for OHFV RNA. Screening of tick samples revealed positive pools from different areas in the Akmola region. Of the caught rodents, 1.1% out of 621 were positive for OHFV at four trapping areas from the West Kazakhstan region. In this paper, we present a broad investigation of the spread of OHFV in Kazakhstan in human cerebrospinal fluid samples, rodents and ticks. Our study shows for the first time that OHFV can not only be found in the area of Western Siberia in Russia, but can also be detected up to 1.600 km away in the Almaty region in patients and natural foci.