Health News

New Tick Borne Illness Called The Bourbon Virus

A  Kansas farmer died this past June from a new ‘tick borne’ virus they are calling the ‘Bourbon Virus.’ According to a report by Medscape on Dec. 24, the Kansas farmer who died this past June was apparently bitten by a tick. The reason for the name ‘Bourbon Virus’ is because it was named after where the first fatal case came from, Bourbon County in Kansas. The man who died from being bitten by a tick with roots from Africa, Asia, and Europe had nausea, loss of appetite, low red and white blood cell counts, and elevated liver enzymes.

At first researchers thought it was a tick borne illness called ehrlichiosis or maybe even the Heartland Virus. However, those two came back negative when they did tests on them so they were ruled out. After much research, the lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Collins, Colorado determined that the ‘Bourbon Virus’ was one they have never seen before in the Western Hemisphere.

This new tick borne virus that killed the farmer in Kansas is from the family of orthomyxovirus and it has a genome that is like viruses seen in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. Although this new virus seems to be from the man getting bitten by a tick, this has not been proven as of yet. Dr. Hawkinson, one of the doctors on the research team and the doctor who treated the farmer from Kansas told Medscape Medical News.

We suspect it’s been around for a while. We haven’t been able to identify it until now. According to a report by News Max, the Kansas farmer was identified as Scott Seested who was 68-years-old and tested negative for all tick borne viruses. However, his death certificate  stated three different tick borne illnesses as his cause of death.

What do you think about this new virus? Does this scare you that we could now get sick and die just from being bitten by a tick? Sound off with your opinion on this situation in the comments section below and let everyone know what you think.

Photo Credit: Jared Belson

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