Virus Discovery

Colorado Tick Fever Virus

Tick-borne diseases are very common in the United States.  While the number of tick-borne disease cases in Montana is relatively small, these diseases can be serious and include Lyme disease, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tick-borne relapsing fever (borreliosis), and Colorado tick fever.  Common symptoms from Colorado tick fever infections are aching, fever, chills, and fatigue over the course of several days.  Thus, the clinical symptoms of Colorado tick fever may be confused with other diseases such as the flu.

CTFV was detected in small rodents in surveys taken in the 1960s.  In collaboration with Dr. Amy Kuenzi, also at Montana Tech, our laboratories are performing a follow-up survey to detect CTFV in deer mouse blood samples originally collected for tracking hantavirus prevalence in Montana.  The only genomic sequences available NCBI for CTFV are for the Florio reference strain, which was isolated from a human in Colorado in 1943, so sequence analysis of CTFV from positive samples will be collected.


The bacteriophage project is associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s SEA-PHAGES program.   This project originated in the lab of Dr. Graham Hatfull with plenty of help from my co-worker Dr. Marisa (muh-ree-sa) Pedulla.


SEA-PHAGES Academy Lab Notebook (Cohort 10 Workshop 10A)

  • HHMI001 – Collecting Environmental Samples
  • HHMI002 – Phage Enrichment for Isolation (Direct Isolation, too)