Lyme’s disease, Bourbon virus, Powassan virus, Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just a few of the dangerous illnesses and infections you can contract if you’re bitten by a tick — and now, you can add one more new and alarming ailment to the list: Heartland virus.
Since it was first identified in 2009 in Missouri, Heartland virus has spread across the southern region of the United States and has now made its way to Arkansas for the first time ever, according to Fox16 News. The illness, which is spread by the Lone Star tick, typically infects people from May to September, and requires hospitalization. There’s no vaccine or medication to treat it at this time.
The virus, which causes flu-like symptoms including fever, fatigue, nausea, and muscle pain, first spread from Missouri to Tennessee, and then to Oklahoma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 20 cases have been reported in recent years, including one instance where the infected patient died.
The CDC also found the disease in deer, moose, raccoons, and more animals in 13 states including Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, and even Maine. “It’s very possible there have been many other cases that have been overlooked,” Nick Komar, a CDC biologist, told NPR. The experts predict that another type of tick may also carry the disease since Lone Star ticks aren’t found in the Northeast region of the U.S.
(h/t Fox16 News)