Man Dies From Rare, New Disease Associated With Tick Bites

In today’s article we are going to write about the story of a farmer from Bourbon County, Kansas, who suffered from an unknown disease. Namely, doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital received a patient and they could not determine why the organs of this patient were failing.

Doctors have tried all kinds of treatments, but 10 days later the blood pressure of this man collapsed and his lungs failed.

However, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital, Dana Hawkinson suspected a tick-borne illness. Hawkinson remembers: “We didn’t have an answer for the longest time as to why is he not getting better? What is causing this? Nothing that we’re doing is seeming to help even though we’re going to the nth degree to try and give him supportive care and give him active care to try and get him better”.

Doctors took blood from the patient and sent the blood samples at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The laboratory tests showed the existence of a new pathogen. Medical experts explain that this pathogen was similar to overseas illnesses spread by ticks and mosquitoes, and the scientists named the illness “the Bourbon virus”.

Despite the fact that this illness was discovered 3 years ago, it still remains a mystery.

About a year later, in Oklahoma doctors have reported second case of this pathogen.  Dr. Hawkinson suspects that there were other cases that have gone undiagnosed. “I can’t give you a specific number, but certainly cases where people were ill and we think it looks like one sort of disease, but it isn’t, and they end up recovering or they die and that’s what it truly is”.

Dr. Hawkinson believes that the Bourbon virus has caused a broad spectrum of diseases. She explains that the symptoms of this disease are generally nonspecific and that is the reason why it is really hard to identify it.

Some of the the mild case symptoms:

  • Muscle Aches
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Malaise
  • Nausea

The chief medical officer at KY Hospital, Lee Norman says that it would be very helpful if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered more flexibility for the testing for this virus.

Before testing for the Bourbon virus, the CDC requires patients to have multiple specific symptoms, including low white blood cell count, high fever, low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes.

It is also important to mention that Hawkinson warns people to be cautions and do all necessary measurements to prevent ticks. Namely, people who send much time outdoors should check for ticks often, all people should keep the wood piles stacked and the grass cut, try to avoid wooded areas and if you take a walk in such areas, it is highly advisable to wear long sleeves and pants.

Check the video below and get detailed information about this virus: