ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Health experts are again warning the public about a relatively new tick-borne disease that has now claimed two lives—one in Oklahoma, the other in Tennessee.
The Heartland Virus, which was first discovered in Missouri in 2009, has resulted in several illnesses in Missouri.
The virus is likely spread through bites from the Lone Star Tick.
“I think in Missouri, it’s pretty much everywhere,” says CDC entomologist Dr. Harry Savage. “We were working mainly in the northeastern part of the state because that’s where the two initial cases occurred. But, there were five new cases from Missouri and it doesn’t include the distribution but they were scattered, so probably all of Missouri.”
The seven Missouri patients, in the northwestern, southern and central parts of the state, all recovered from the disease.
Savage recommends using an insect repellent with DEET when going outdoors to protect yourself from tick bites. Also, check for ticks as soon as possible after coming indoors and seek medical help if you get sick after a tick bite.
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