New 'Heartland' Virus Discovered in Sick Missouri Farmers
Two men in Missouri who became severely ill after sustaining tick bites were found to be infected with a new type of virus, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).
Both men were admitted to hospitals after experiencing high fevers, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They were originally thought to be suffering from a bacterial infection, but doubts arose when they didn't improve after being treated with antibiotics.
Further tests revealed their blood contained a new virus, which the researchers dubbed the Heartland virus. It belongs to a group called phleboviruses, which are carried by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, and can cause disease in humans.
While the genetic material of Heartland virus appears similar to that of other phleboviruses, the particular proteins it produces are different enough to call it a new species, said study researcherLaura McMullan, a senior scientist at the CDC.
Because the Heartland virus causes such general symptoms, it could be "a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized," the researchers wrote in the Aug. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
More studies are needed to identify the natural hosts of the virus, learn how many people are infected with it and find risk factors for infection, McMullan said.
Because both men experienced tick bites shortly before they became ill....
New 'Heartland' Virus Discovered in Sick Missouri Farmers - Yahoo! News