Over the Christmas holiday some unsettling news came out of Kansas. Over the summer a farmer from Bourbon County, Kansas passed away after only 10 days in the hospital. With many tick bites from farming and his symptoms mimicking those of other tick borne illnesses, those were the first tests run. He tested negative for Rocky Mountain Fever and Lyme Disease. After more testing was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Kansas it was confirmed he had a virus that had not been previously identified.
An otherwise healthy man, the virus has been attributed to ticks, and was named after the residence of the farmer, Bourbon Virus. “We don’t know the full spectrum of disease because it’s the first case,” says Dana Hawkinson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Hospital. For example, no one knows whether or not the disease is usually deadly or if there could be more mild cases from which future patients could recover. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and a general feeling of malaise. But while similar tick-borne illnesses typically are treated with antibiotics, this disease is transmitted by a virus, and therefore won’t respond to the medication.
While we’re in the middle of winter, this isn’t really a concern as ticks are only active from around April to September. But, it is something to be mindful of as we all dream of warmer weather. If you’re someone who spends a great deal of time or works outdoors, it is important to keep yourself covered during prime tick season. If you have questions about tick control for your yard for the 2015 season, just give us a call. As research continues and more information is revealed about the virus, Mosquito Joe will keep you updated.