The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally reported on the discovery of a new virus, most likely transmitted through ticks. Bourbon virus belongs to a group of viruses called thogotoviruses. Viruses in this group are found all over the world.

The CDC believes this new virus contributed to the death of a previously healthy man in his 50s.“We do not yet fully know how people become infected with Bourbon virus. However, based on what we know about similar viruses, it is likely that Bourbon virus is spread through tick or other insect bites,” the CDC says.

The CDC studied the details in the progression of the main’s illness.  This case was the first time the virus has been shown to cause human illness in the United States.  “At this time, we do not know if the virus might be found in other areas of the United States,” the CDC stated.

Because there has been only one case identified thus far, scientists are still learning about possible symptoms caused by this new virus. In the one person who was diagnosed with Bourbon virus symptoms included fever, fatigue, anorexia, nausea, vomiting and a maculopapular rash. The person also had thrombocytopenia and leukopenia; low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding.

“The Kansas  man had received multiple tick bites in the days before becoming ill. After test results for many infectious diseases came back negative a sample of the patient’s blood was sent to CDC for additional testing,” the CDC reported.  Using Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD), the CDC determined that they in fact discovered a new virus.

CDC is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and other partners to help identify other potential cases of Bourbon virus.  They are investigating symptoms and ways people might be getting infected to help understand the virus and then determine ways to prevent and control the new virus.

“The discovery of Bourbon virus, as well as the recent discoveries of Heartland virus in Missouri and severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome viruses in China, leads CDC researchers to believe that other undiscovered viruses are likely causing people to get sick,” an official from the CDC stated.

In result of so little knowledge of the virus, there is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat Bourbon virus.  Preventing tick or insect bites is the best way to prevent infection of tick borne illnesses.

  • Protect Yourself by Preventing Tick Bites
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails
  • Use insect repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET on skin or clothing.  Follow product instructions.
  • Use products that contain 0.5% Permethrin on clothing, boots, pants, tents.
  • Bath or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off or more easily remove ticks.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check.  Parents should check their children.
  • Check your pets.
  • Tumble clothes in the dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.
  • Create a Tick-safe Zone in Your Yard
  • The CDC also recommends some simple ways to reduce tick populations in your yard.
  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

You can find additional information on Bourbon virus, visit Information in this article provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



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