The first confirmed case of Keystone virus in human beings has been found in the body of a 16-year-old boy, leading researchers to believe the virus could now spread very rapidly through North Florida, and potentially even further.
As reported by CNBC, researchers from the University of Florida were able to confirm the afflicted’s case of the Keystone virus after he was treated at an urgent care clinic in North Central Florida back in August of 2016.
Initially, those screening his tests believed the young man was afflicted with Zika virus, which was a logical assumption at the time since his case came to light during a widely publicized Zika outbreak.
This assumption aside, the teen’s results came back positive for the Keystone virus, which was given to him by a type of mosquito closely related to the Zika mosquito.
The boy exhibited blatant signs of a rash and fever, and his test proved to be the first case where the virus was successfully transmitted to the human body.
J. Glenn Morris, research author and director of the university’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, stated that “Although the virus has never previously been found in humans, the infection may actually be fairly common in North Florida,”
The author then went on to suggest that doctors might not have known until now how to properly look for the virus in patients, leading to fewer cases being successfully diagnosed.
Since its discovery in 1964 amongst the wildlife community in the Tampa Bay area, animal cases have spread all the way from Texas to even the Chesapeake Bay.
The most common symptoms of Keystone virus include, but are not limited to, rashes, mild fever, encephalitis, and brain inflammation.
In the case of the Florida teen who was diagnosed, he did not exhibit any signs of encephalitis.
However, the Centers For Disease Control warns that as a nation the United States is not adequately prepared to handle these newly morphing viruses and the bugs transmitting them to us.
Up until this point, medical professionals could only assume that the Keystone virus had the ability to infect the human body, but now there is the first concrete proof that it can.
Currently, there is no known effective cure or treatment for the virus as it has never been studied on people before and only popped up intermittently in animals.
“All sorts of viruses are being transmitted by mosquitoes, yet we don’t fully understand the rate of disease transmission,” Morris mentioned.
“Additional research into the spread of vector-borne diseases will help us shine a light on the pathogens that are of greatest concern to both human and animal health.”
The only known way to prevent the virus is to avoid mosquito bites, especially in areas known to exhibit cases of the virus. So, in afflicted areas and anywhere with high mosquito concentration, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests a combined usage of insect repellent, long-sleeve tops, and pants (if possible) as well as staying indoors somewhere cool that has screen doors to prevent bugs from getting inside.