The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has described a new disease carried by ticks as the Heartland virus. The virus has infected two farmers from Missouri, both of whom recovered, but had to be hospitalized. The symptoms the farmers suffered from included nausea, fever, headache and fatigue. The counts for their platelets dropped but they did not suffer from any abnormal bleeding.
The two cases are the only known in the world but experts feel they will discover more because they men lived just 60 miles from each other but were infected separately.
“We expect to find new cases,” Dr. William Nicholson of the CDC said. “We expect this thing may be wider in geographic distribution than we currently know.”
The virus was found by Scott Folk, an infectious disease doctor who works at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Missouri.”Whenever he sends us a sample, we pay attention because we’re likely to find something,” Nicholson said.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” Nicholson said in regards to the Heartland virus. “It’s not every day that you find something new — particularly in the world of tick-borne diseases. We often work with what might be considered antique diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.”
The researchers working on the case are examining thousands of ticks, crawling insects and animals from Missouri to find the virus.