Transmission of AHFV is not well understood. AHFV is a zoonotic virus, and its described tick hosts (the soft tick Ornithodoros savignyi and the hard tick Hyalomma dromedari) are widely distributed. People can become infected through a tick bite or when crushing infected ticks. Epidemiologic studies indicate that contact with domestic animals or livestock may increase the risk of human infection. No human-to-human transmission of AHF has been documented.
Although livestock animals may provide blood meals for ticks, it is thought that they play a minor role in transmitting AHFV to humans. No transmission through non-pasteurized milk has been described, although other tick-borne flaviviruses have been transmitted to humans through this route.