Friday, January 2, 2015

A Previously Unknown Virus Identified as Bourbon Virus in Kansas

It is an exciting time for infectious diseases experts in the United states, particularly for those in Kansas, due to the identification of a new virus! A microbe was discovered in Bourbon county, Kansas where it infected and killed a farmer last summer. After a meticulous process that lasted several months, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identified it as a previously unknown virus and consequently named it the Bourbon virus. 

It’s classified under the genus Thogotovirus in the virus family Orthomyxoviridae. The virus acts fast: the infected man died after ten days of the infection. The man presented to the hospital with a symptoms that included high fever, muscle aches and loss of appetite and progressed to lung and kidney failure. Tests indicated that a high number of liver enzymes and a low number of platelets and white cells. Scientists ran tests for the Rocky Mountain spotted fever and the Heartland virus, but the test results were negative. The virus is thought to be transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes, but more research needs to be done to identify the exact route of transmission. Scientists at the CDC suspect that the virus has been around for some time and has infected others even though no other cases have been identified. Scientists have a lot of work cut out for them as they have to investigate potential previous infections by testing blood samples from people who had similar unidentifiable illnesses. 

Should we be worried about this? Right now the risk of infection is low due to the fact that ticks aren’t active in cold whether. However just to be safe, it’s important to use insect repellent when outdoors. Read the article below to learn more about the virus and stay tuned for more information during this exciting time of new virus identification!

Hope you ate many Bo(ur)-bon chocolates during the break!

Your Bourbonophobe,
Mariam

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/science/mysterious-virus-that-killed-a-farmer-in-kansas-is-identified.html?_r=0

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