|Group:||Group V ((-)ssRNA)|
The virus first appeared in humans in June 2009 when two farmers, living 60 miles (97 km) apart, presented with the following symptoms: fever, fatigue, diarrhea, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia.
The virus has been traced by researchers from the CDC and Missouri Western State University back to the Lone Star Tick, which transmits the virus to people when feeding on blood. Work continues as of 2013 to identify the reservoir host.
The Heartland virus has been isolated from the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum). The phleboviruses, in general, can be transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and sand flies. Patients in all known cases of the Heartland virus in the United States reported being bitten by ticks in the previous 14 days. The reservoir host has yet to be identified.
Signs and symptoms
Fever in excess of 100.4°F (38°C), lethargy (weakness), headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, arthralgia (joint pain), leukopenia (low white blood cells) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets). Elevated liver transaminases may also be present.
All known cases reported in the United States have been reported in three states: Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Patients in all currently known cases spent a fair amount of time outdoors in regions where ticks were endemic, all patients were aged over 50. All cases occurred from May - September.
Diagnosis is currently through the elimination of other causes of infectious diseases with related symptoms like ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis; or if the patient fails to respond to treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline. RT-PCR may then be used to detect viral ssRNA in the blood. Antibody titers against the virus may also be used to indicate infection with the Heartland virus.
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Use insect repellents on yourself and your gear. Completely cover your body with long sleeves and pants. Avoid bushy and wooded areas. Perform thorough tick checks after spending time outdoors and remove any tick found immediately.
If you encounter a tick on your body or your animal, remove the tick by the head. Squeezing the abdomen of a tick while it is attached can force bacteria and viruses into the bite wound. Squishing the unattached tick to kill it can release bacteria and viruses from the abdomen of the tick which may then be able to enter a wound or burrow through skin.
- Knox, Richard. "Mysterious New 'Heartland Virus' Discovered in Missouri". Shots: NPR's Health Blog. NPR. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Grady, Denise (2012-09-03). "New Virus Tied to Ticks Poses Puzzle for Doctors". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
- Laura K. McMullan, Scott M. Folk, Aubree J. Kelly, Adam MacNeil, Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Maureen G. Metcalfe, Brigid C. Batten, César G. Albariño, Sherif R. Zaki, Pierre E. Rollin, William L. Nicholson, and Stuart T. Nichol (2012-08-30). "A New Phlebovirus Associated with Severe Febrile Illness in Missouri". New England Journal of Medicine 367: 834–841. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1203378. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Schnirring, Lisa (2013-07-22). "Researchers trace novel Heartland virus to Missouri ticks". CIDRAP. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- Harry M. Savage, Marvin S. Godsey Jr., Amy Lambert, Nickolas A. Panella, Kristen L. Burkhalter, Jessica R. Harmon, R. Ryan Lash, David C. Ashley and William L. Nicholson (22 July 2013). "First Detection of Heartland Virus (Bunyaviridae: Phlebovirus) from Field Collected Arthropods". Am J Trop Med Hyg 89 (3): 445-452. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.13-0209.