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Keywords:

  • Flavivirus;
  • louping ill virus;
  • Nairovirus;
  • Omsk haemorrhagic fever;
  • Powassan virus;
  • review;
  • tick-borne encephalitis virus

Abstract

Several human diseases in Europe are caused by viruses transmitted by tick bite. These viruses belong to the genus Flavivirus, and include tick-borne encephalitis virus, Omsk haemorrhagic fever virus, louping ill virus, Powassan virus, Nairovirus (Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus) and Coltivirus (Eyach virus). All of these viruses cause more or less severe neurological diseases, and some are also responsible for haemorrhagic fever. The epidemiology, clinical picture and methods for diagnosis are detailed in this review. Most of these viral pathogens are classified as Biosafety Level 3 or 4 agents, and therefore some of them have been classified in Categories A–C of potential bioterrorism agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their ability to cause severe disease in man means that these viruses, as well as any clinical samples suspected of containing them, must be handled with specific and stringent precautions.