Tacheng tick virus 1 (TcTV-1) and Songling virus (SGLV) were originally found in human patients in China who had had tick bites. Tamdy virus (TAMV) was detected for the first time in a tick-infested person from Kyrgyzstan in 1973. In this study, 276 great gerbils (Rhombomys opimus) were collected in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China. The total RNA of individual spleen samples was extracted, and the viral L segments of TcTV-1, SGLV, and TAMV were detected by nested reverse transcription PCR. Overall, 2.9% (8/276) and 2.2% (6/276) of spleen samples tested positive to the viral L segments for TcTV-1 and SGLV, respectively; TAMV was not detected in any samples. The SGLV from the great gerbils shared 93.7% (236/252 nucleotide [nt]) and 94.0% (78/83 amino acid [aa]) identities to SGLV detected in patients infected with SGLV in northeastern China. The TcTV-1 in great gerbils was closest to TcTV-1 from a patient in China, with 98.5% (797/809 nt) and 98.9% (265/268 aa) sequence identities. This is the first molecular evidence for the presence of TcTV-1 and SGLV in great gerbils. High genetic diversity in SGLV was observed among geographical locations. Multiregion surveillance of Tamdy orthonairoviruses in more wildlife species is necessary.

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Author notes

These authors contributed equally to this work.