(CNN – Feb. 20, 2015) — The CDC has discovered a new virus that may have contributed to a Kansas man’s death, the agency announced Friday.
Named the Bourbon virus after the county where the patient lived, the virus is likely spread by tick or insect bites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
A 50-year-old man suffered multiple tick bites in the spring of 2014 while working outside on his property, the CDC said in an article published in the agency’s “Infectious Diseases” journal.
The man fell ill over the next two days, went to a doctor on the third day, was hospitalized and died of a heart attack 11 days after becoming sick, the CDC said.
While the man was hospitalized, test results for many infectious diseases came back negative, the press release said. A blood sample was sent to the CDC, which determined a new virus had been discovered, the press release said.
The man’s symptoms included fever, tiredness, rash, headache, other body aches, nausea and vomiting, the website said. The man had low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding, the website said.
Though the CDC only has one case to work with, the agency said “it is likely that Bourbon virus is spread through tick or other insect bites.”
The CDC recommends people protect themselves by tick bites by using insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, avoiding busy and wooded areas and checking for ticks after spending time outdoors.
The Bourbon virus is part of a group of viruses linked to tick or insect bites in Europe, Asia and Africa, the CDC said.
This is the first time a virus in this group, known as thogotoviruses, has been known to cause illness in the United States, the CDC said.