New Tick-Borne Virus Discovered in Missouri

Posted on September 1, 2012

An article in The New England Journal of Medicine reports the discovery of a new disease in Missouri caused by a novel phlebovirus. The disease is thought to spread by ticks. It was discovered in 2009 after two Missouri farmers, recently bitten and fed on by ticks, came down with symptoms of "fever, fatigue, diarrhea, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia."

The CDC has issued a statement on the disease and says much is to be learned about the "Heartland virus." The CDC says, "Much is yet to be learned about Heartland virus. CDC is working with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, local health departments, and several healthcare facilities in Missouri to determine symptoms and potential severity of the disease, the geographic extent of the disease, how people are infected and ways to prevent infections."

NBC News has more on the tick virus here. Dr. Scott M. Folk, an infectious disease expert at Heartland Regional, told NBC that although the Heartland virus appears to be rare, it "could be responsible for more illness than we think." CNN also has a report on the new disease.

This new virus is just one of many awful pathogens spread by ticks. If you would like to learn about more tickborne diseases, then be sure to check out this handy list on the CDC's website.

More from Science Space & Robots