AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Mystery Virus Identified

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment stated that the mysterious virus that killed the farmer in Kansas last summer has been identified as Bourbon virus, named after the county were the patient lived. Doctor Dana Hawkinson, infectious disease specialist, treated the patient for 10 days at the University of Kansas Hospital.  Bourbon virus, a microbe, was identified by the scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after several months of testing.  Doctor J Erin Staples, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC laboratory in For Collins, CO, stated the virus was a type of thogovirus, part of the larger family called orthomyxovirures.  Hawkinson believe that the virus has been around in milder forms for some time now and people have recovered from it.  The patient entered the hospital with symptoms which included high fever, muscle aches, and loss of appetite.  Upon further testing the patients blood showed elevated liver enzymes and low levels of white blood cells and platelets which indicated tick-borne illnesses.  Hawkinson tested the patient for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Heartland virus, both came back negative.  Heartland virus is also another recently discovered/named by the CDC tick-borne illness.  There is no treatment for the disease  and the best defense is to wear long garments when working outdoors and wearing bug spray containing DEET.  The risk to the public is low especially because mosquitos and ticks are not active in cold weather.

For more information:

Article from NYTimes

Bourbon virus kills farmer

Virus that killed farmer is identified 

Kansas farmer dead

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1 Comment

  1. pintocytosis

    Interesting article vivzett! Its fascinating and somewhat concerning that such serious diseases can be picked up from ticks attaching to the skin and bloodstream. Ticks are especially difficult to locate because they are so tiny, while mosquito bites are somewhat easier to locate because of their itchy nature. It is also interesting that such an obscure disease was found to have symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and loss of appetite, which can also be associated so many other infections and illnesses such as the yearly flu.

    For more information on ticks and prevention from tick bites check out this link from the CDC:

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