Health officials issue warning about new tick-borne disease

16 people in Greene County report tick-related illness so far this summer

16 people in Greene County report tick-related illness so far this summer

"It's a viral disease, and because it's a virus, it's kind of sprawled out within the tick, which means as soon as that tick starts to feed, it has the potential to give you whatever it may be carrying", said Bryon Backenson, a research scientist for State Department of Health. Wilson had worked at Meramec State Park for a decade. May said that Wilson also acquired secondary infections including pneumonia and HLH, or hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, where the immune system attacks its own organs.

After testing for other tick-borne diseases was negative, her blood was sent to the CDC, which confirmed she had Bourbon virus.

The State Department of Health has confirmed a case of Powassan virus in Saratoga County.

Not enough is known about the Bourbon virus to determine a typical course of illness, said Dr. Steven Lawrence, an infectious disease specialist at Washington University who was not involved in Wilson's care.

Watch for symptoms of tick-borne disease in the days and weeks after a bite, such as any unusual rash and unexplained flu-like symptoms, including fever, severe headaches, body aches and dizziness. All of the patients were hospitalized, but it is unclear how many deaths have been attributed to the virus. There is no treatment for Heartland, as antibiotics do not treat viruses. While the virus can be fatal and should be taken seriously, it is still very rare.

Only a few cases of the Heartland virus have been detected across the nation, but most have required hospitalization.

Ticks can also spread less common but unsafe infections like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Heartland virus and Powassan virus. Cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and similar fevers have risen by 90 percent over the last five years in Missouri.

"They told us, you know, basically, they were hoping it would leave her system", May said.

IN health officials have not released which southern IN counties where the virus was detected.

The best defense is prevention of tick bites. An infection can occur if the tick is attached on the skin for 24 hours or longer. "They said it's a medical mystery", said Geoff Potter, Wilson's father. "If you are out and about and you go fishing and your family goes camping or floating and you've been bit by a tick, to relieve the stress of having a problem, just get a blood test done".

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