Deadly Tick-Borne ‘Bourbon Virus’ Unlike Anything Seen in USA Before

AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho
AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho

The fast developing and deadly tick-borne virus that killed a man in Kansas has been identified. The virus is so deadly that doctors were barely able to keep up with the symptoms.

The disease is now being called the Bourbon Virus–named after the Kansas County where the patient contracted the virus. The virus has never been seen before in the US but resembles tick-born viruses seen in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

The first, and thus far only, victim died a mere ten days after contracting the virus. The quickly developing illness frustrated doctors because of their lack of familiarity with the disease.

Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and a feeling of malaise. According to doctors, the patient’s symptoms were “fast-moving and severe, causing lung and kidney failure, and shock.”

Dana Hawkinson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Hospital, identified the virus as a thogotovirus, part of a larger type of viruses called orthomyxoviruses. It is the first time the virus has been identified in the USA.

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