ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - A Centers for Disease Control researcher has found a new, possibly tick-borne virus in Missouri.
The CDC is calling it the Heartland Virus and it hit two farmers just north of St. Joseph in 2009, according to CDC researcher Dr. William Nicholson.
“They both have fairly large farms, they had spent time outside, they had been bitten by ticks,” Nicholson said. “They had a fever, low platelet count, low white (cell) count, a headache, and they were ill enough to be hospitalized for ten and twelve days each.”
Both farmers have since recovered.
The closest relative to this new virus is found in China. Nicholson says the best way to protect ourselves from ticks and the viruses they carry is to wear repellant – permethrin on our clothing, deet on our skin – and perform frequent body checks when outdoors.