Transmission of Heartland Virus

Key points

  • Heartland virus disease is caused by a virus in the genus Bandavirus.
  • Heartland virus is primarily transmitted by Amblyomma americanum ticks.
  • It is unknown if there are any animal reservoirs for the virus.
A lone star tick on a person's fingernail.


Heartland virus belongs to the genus Bandavirus, family Phenuviridae, which includes viruses that can be transmitted by ticks.

Heartland virus blood smear
Electron microscopic image of Heartland virus.

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus is a related virus found in several countries in Asia and causes similar signs and symptoms to Heartland virus.


Based on human case reports and laboratory studies, the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is primarily responsible for transmitting Heartland virus. The Asian Longhorn tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) has also been shown to be a competent vector in the laboratory.

Lone star tick on a leaf.
Lone star tick

It is currently not known if any mammals are reservoirs for the virus, although antibodies against the virus have been found in several species.

It is not known if people can be infected in other ways.