Biodiversity and relative abundance of ticks and associated arboviruses in Garissa (northeastern) and Isiolo (eastern) provinces of Kenya were evaluated. Ticks were collected from livestock, identified to species, pooled, and processed for virus isolation. In Garissa, Rhipicephalus pulchellus Gerstäcker (57.8%) and Hyalomma truncatum Koch (27.8%) were the most abundant species sampled, whereas R. pulchellus (80.4%) and Amblyomma gemma Dönitz (9.6%) were the most abundant in Isiolo. Forty-four virus isolates, comprising Dugbe virus (DUGV; n = 22) and Kupe virus (n = 10; Bunyaviridae: Nirovirus), Dhori virus (DHOV; n = 10; Orthomyxoviridae: Thogotovirus), and Ngari virus (NBIV; n = 2; Bunyaviridae: Orthobunyavirus), were recovered mostly from R. pulchellus sampled in Isiolo. DUGV was mostly recovered from R. pulchellus from sheep and cattle, and DHOV from R. pulchellus from sheep. All Kupe virus isolates were from Isiolo ticks, including R. pulchellus from all the livestock, A. gemma and Amblyomma variegatum F. from cattle, and H. truncatum from goat. NRIV was obtained from R. pulchellus and A. gemma sampled from cattle in Isiolo and Garissa, respectively, while all DHOV and most DUGV (n = 12) were from R. pulchellus sampled from cattle in Garissa. DUGV was also recovered from H. truncatum and Amblyomma hebraeum Koch from cattle and from Rhipicephalus annulatus Say from camel. This surveillance study has demonstrated the circulation of select tick-borne viruses in parts of eastern and northeastern provinces of Kenya, some of which are of public health importance. The isolation of NRIV from ticks is particularly significant because it is usually known to be a mosquito-borne virus affecting humans.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1