Scientists prove ticks harbor Heartland virus, a recently discovered disease in the United States

Scientists prove ticks harbor Heartland virus, a recently discovered disease in the United States

Scientists have for the first time traced a novel virus that infected two men from northwestern Missouri in 2009 to populations of ticks in the region, providing confirmation that lone star ticks are carrying the recently discovered virus and humans in the area are likely at risk of infection. There is no treatment available for HRTV. Unlike other tick-borne diseases like Lyme, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, HRTV is a virus and thus does not respond to antibiotics.

via ScienceDaily: Top Health News:

July 22, 2013 — Scientists have for the first time traced a novel virus that infected two men from northwestern Missouri in 2009 to populations of ticks in the region, providing confirmation that lone star ticks are carrying the recently discovered virus and humans in the area are likely at risk of infection. The findings were published online today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.Dubbed Heartland virus or HRTV, the infection causes fever, headaches, and low white blood cell and platelet counts. The two men infected in 2009, who live about 70 miles apart, were sufficiently ill to require hospitalization. They eventually recovered, and no other cases have been reported. Disease experts anticipate, however, that more people could become infected. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify additional cases and determine the role of this novel virus as a human pathogen.”Ten samples of ticks tested positive for the Heartland virus, nine of which were collected from the property of one of the patients and one that came from conservation lands nearby,” said Harry M. Savage, PhD, a research entomologist at CDC in Fort Collins, Colorado and the lead author of the paper. “It’s pretty strong evidence that the virus is persisting from season to season in tick populations and that these ticks play an important role in disease transmission.”There is no treatment available for HRTV. Unlike other tick-borne diseases like Lyme, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, HRTV is a virus and thus does not respond to antibiotics.Disease HuntingHRTV was discovered when a doctor at the hospital treating the two infected men, who had reported being bitten by ticks, sent blood samples to a CDC laboratory in Atlanta for testing. All involved assumed the tests would reveal ehrlichiosis, the tick-borne disease that is most common in the area. …

For more info: Scientists prove ticks harbor Heartland virus, a recently discovered disease in the United States

ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Scientists prove ticks harbor Heartland virus, a recently discovered disease in the United States

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