ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed a recently discovered Missouri viral disease is borne by ticks.
“The tick is the lone-star tick, or amblyomma americanum, which is a very aggressive tick in the south and eastern United States and occurs all throughout Missouri,” says CDC Entomologist Dr. Harry Savage.
The disease has been dubbed the Heartland Virus.
The disease infected two men from northwestern Missouri in 2009, both of whom have since recovered. One of the patients recounted pulling dozens of ticks off his body each night before bed.
“One [patient infected] had illnesses for quite a long time, but neither died,” Savage says.
Savage says symptoms include fever, headache, and low white blood cells and platelet counts.
Unlike other tick borne diseases such as Lyme, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the new Heartland Virus has no treatment and does not respond to antibiotics, therefore doctors can only treat the symptoms.