Health Care

Two Heartland Virus Cases Confirmed In Southern Indiana

Two Heartland Virus Cases Confirmed In Southern Indiana

Tamela Wilson's parents said doctors didn't initially know to test for the disease - the virus was only discovered in 2014 and not many cases have been identified. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is studying ticks from around Meramec State Park near Sullivan to better understand the diseases they carry and how to recognize and treat them. Doctors found out it was from a tick bite passing along what's called the Bourbon virus. May said that Wilson also acquired secondary infections including pneumonia and HLH, or hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, where the immune system attacks its own organs.

Scientists think that the Lone Star Tick, which also carries the bacteria that cause ehrlichiosis, a bacterial illness, is the only tick species that carries this virus.

The New York State Department of Health said a Saratoga County resident with a confirmed case of a tick-borne illness has died. Holidays were spent at her house.

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. All of the patients were hospitalized, but it is unclear how many deaths have been attributed to the virus.

Ticks can also spread less common but risky infections like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Heartland virus and Powassan virus.

There is no specific treatment for the Powassan virus. Most people have a full recovery from tick-borne disease. The diseases are treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Only a small number of cases have been detected nationally, according to an Indiana State Department of Health news release.

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"If you hike, if you garden a lot, if you know that you've been bitten by ticks, that's information that you should relay to your physician".

In addition to preventing bites, prompt removal of ticks may prevent disease. An infection can occur if the tick is attached on the skin for 24 hours or longer. One person has died from the virus.

A day later, things took a turn for the worse.

Skalicky says everyone needs to wear repellent, beware, and be checking for ticks on you and your kids.

"It doesn't mean not going outside, but it does mean being careful when you do go outside", Gardner said.


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