The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are testing for evidence of Bourbon virus in the blood of some state park workers. The testing was done as part of a follow-up investigation into a recent case of Bourbon virus associated with exposure to ticks in Missouri.
CDC’s Arboviral Disease Branch will test each blood sample for the presence of Bourbon virus antibodies; these antibodies may indicate a previous exposure to the virus. This follow-up investigation will help determine who might be at risk for Bourbon virus. It is believed to be spread by ticks, but this has not been confirmed.
Bourbon virus was first discovered to cause human illness in a Bourbon County, KS, man in 2014.
Patients diagnosed with Bourbon virus have shown signs similar to Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis (two other tick-borne illnesses found in Missouri), including fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, anorexia, diarrhea and rash. Like Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis, Bourbon virus can affect blood cells that help the body fight infection and prevent bleeding. There is no vaccine for Bourbon virus.
Information on ways to prevent exposure to a tick-borne disease can be found on the DHSS website: http://health.mo.gov/.