New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered in Sick Missouri Farmers
Two men in Missouri who became severely ill after sustaining tick bites were found to be infected with a new type of virus, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Two men were admitted to hospitals after experiencing high fevers, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They were originally thought to be suffering from a bacterial infection, but doubts arose when they didn't improve after being treated with antibiotics.
Further tests revealed their blood contained a new virus, which the researchers dubbed the Heartland virus. It belongs to a group called phleboviruses, which are carried by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, and can cause disease in humans.
And you know, it could also be the start of a zombie virus. We just want to throw that out there. Apparently there has been a severe outbreak of West Nile Virus in Texas, but who knows? Maybe the carriers of the LPQ-79 zombie virus are mosquitoes and ticks and West Nile Virus is just the code name.
In any case, new virus's closest relative is another tick-borne phlebovirus, called SFTS virus, which was identified last year in China, and causes death in 12 percent of cases.
The Missouri men, who were both infected in 2009, recovered after 10 to 12 days in the hospital, although one of the men has reported recurrent headaches and fatigue in the two years since his hospitalization.