New tick disease discovered in Missouri

Jul 23, 2013

 

lone star tick
lone star tick
Credit Center for Disease Control

Federal health investigators have confirmed that ticks carry a new virus that sickened two Missouri men.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspected ticks were a likely source of the Heartland virus, which was named for the St. Joseph hospital where the men were treated in 2009.

 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a new study authored by CDC scientist Harry Savage says samples from ticks at the patients' farms and a nearby conservation area have tested positive for the Heartland virus. The study was published Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

There are no treatments for Heartland virus, which causes low white blood cell counts, fever, chills, diarrhea and other symptoms. Both patients recovered after nearly two weeks in the hospital.