The CDC released a new report on the mysterious Bourbon virus, which killed at least one man in Kansas. The death was the first confirmed case of the new disease, and the CDC now recommends measures to help prevent bites from ticks, which spread the illness.
CBS News confirmed that an unidentified man in Kansas under the age of 50 caught the Bourbon virus late last Spring. The man was healthy, but while working in his yard, he was bitten by several ticks.
The CDC researchers noted the man found a particularly engorged tick on his shoulder “several days before he became ill with nausea, weakness, and diarrhea.”
The man came to the hospital in an ambulance. He was initially suffering from a high fever, elevated blood pressure, and a strange rash on his torso. The doctors attempted to treat him with the antibiotic doxycycline, but his condition continued to deteriorate.
According to CNN, by day 11, the man was dead.
The new illness was first discovered in Bourbon County, Kansas — hence the name.
After months of research, the CDC found that the virus is part of the Thogotovirus genus, which “have been linked to [transmission by] ticks and mosquitoes in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa.”
Kansas state epidemiologist Charles Hunt explained to NBC News the group wasn’t looking for a new virus.
“We are surprised. We really don’t know much about this virus. It’s important to find out more from a public health perspective. It is possible that other persons have been infected with this and not known it?”
The reports on the Bourbon virus remain unclear. The most recent report cites the unidentified 50-year-old man as the first and only known infection. Yet, reports from late last year stated that 68-year-old John Seested was the first Bourbon virus death.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Bourbon County, Kansas, has reported five cases of tick-borne disease. Since researchers have only recently identified the new disease, it’s not clear how many of those other infections were from the Bourbon virus.
In any case, the CDC is now recommending vigilance.
“Persons should be advised to avoid tick bites by using an insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be effective against ticks.”
In the meantime, the agency’s experts are studying Kansas’ new illness to “better understand the virus itself, how it makes people sick, and what animals [if any] may play a role in its spread.”
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