CDC identifies new tickborne virus

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Veterinary researchers still investigating impact on pets.

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified a new species of thogotovirus       called the Bourbon virus. It was named after the Kansas county where the first U.S. patient diagnosed with the tickborne disease lived, according to the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal.

The patient, a 50-year-old man, developed nausea, weakness and diarrhea several days after finding bites and an engorged tick on his shoulder. The following day his symptoms included a fever, anorexia, chills, headache, and joint and muscle pain. His primary care physician prescribed doxycycline but his condition deteriorated further and he was taken to the hospital where his condition worsened. On day 11 the decision to withdraw further care was made after multiple resuscitations and the patient died, the journal reports. 

Evaluations for known tickborne diseases were negative; however, vira plaques noted in cell culture wells according to the journal.

While this remains the only case to date and the possibility of transmission to pets is unknown, Susan E. Little, DVM, PhD, DACVM (parasitology), says that it's an interesting discovery in that it adds to the diversity of viruses recently discovered as transmitted by lone star ticks (Heartland, Bourbon and Tacaribe), which are also not yet known to be pathogenic.

Veterinary parasitologists emphasize that year-round parasite prevention is the best way to keep pets safe and healthy from tickborne diseases.

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