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Tickborne Diseases
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January 2019

confocal microscope image shows a cross section of a tick salivary gland infected with Langat virus

NIH Scientists Explore Tick Salivary Glands as Tool to Study Virus Transmission and Infection

January 29, 2019

The salivary glands of some tick species could become important research tools for studying how viruses are transmitted from ticks to mammals, and for developing preventive medical countermeasures. Tick salivary glands usually block transmission, but a new study conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health focuses on the role of salivary glands in spreading flaviviruses from black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) to mammals.

July 2018

An engorged deer tick

Tickborne Diseases Are Likely to Increase, Say NIAID Officials

July 25, 2018

The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade. It is imperative, therefore, that public health officials and scientists build a robust understanding of pathogenesis, design improved diagnostics, and develop preventive vaccines, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine from leading scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

April 2018

Scanning electron micrographs of CCHF viral particles

NIH Scientists Develop Macaque Model to Study Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

April 09, 2018

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral disease spread by ticks in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. Infection with CCHF virus is fatal in nearly one of every three cases. No specific treatments or vaccines for CCHF exist, primarily because a suitable animal model for studying the disease has not been available. Scientists have used mice to study CCHF but had to weaken their immune systems to cause infection. Studies in larger animals have not consistently replicated human disease.

November 2017

An adult female Lone Star tick climbs on a plant. Bites from the juvenile form of this species, sometimes called seed ticks, are linked to the development of red meat allergy.

NIAID Scientists Link Cases of Unexplained Anaphylaxis to Red Meat Allergy

November 28, 2017

While rare, some people experience recurrent episodes of anaphylaxis—a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes symptoms such as the constriction of airways and a dangerous drop in blood pressure—for which the triggers are never identified. Recently, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that some patients’ seemingly inexplicable anaphylaxis was actually caused by an uncommon allergy to a molecule found naturally in red meat.

August 2017

Langat virus infection (bright green) in the tick midgut (black) is shown at six days after infection in this fluorescence image

Scientists Develop Infection Model for Tick-borne Flaviviruses

August 22, 2017

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus.  Powassan virus was implicated in the death of a New York man earlier this year. The unusual model involves culturing organs taken from Ixodes scapularis ticks and then infecting those organ cultures with flaviviruses, according to researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).