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'Bourbon Virus' Identified After Kansas Man's Death

A new virus has reportedly been discovered in the Midwest, with scientists looking at how the tick-borne illness claimed the life of one person in Kansas.

A new virus has reportedly been discovered in the Midwest, with scientists looking at how the tick-borne illness claimed the life of one person in Kansas.

According to a story from ABC News, a man from Bourbon County, KS, is the first victim of the disease being called the Bourbon virus. The story reports the man became ill during the summer before succumbing to the virus. It has taken months to find the reason for his death.

“Its genome is similar to viruses that have been found in eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, but no virus like that has ever been identified in the western hemisphere,” noted Dana Hawkinson, MD, an infectious disease expert at the University of Kansas Hospital.

While similar to the already known heartland virus Hawkinson said anorexia is a symptom associated with the newest discovery along with muscle aches, elevated liver enzymes and damaged blood platelets.

With so much time having passed between the time of the man’s death and the identification of the cause of death Hawkinson said in the story it had been a difficult process. “We just couldn’t answer questions for the family and ourselves as to why this was happening to this gentleman.”

Another challenge for the team in Kansas is the fact that the Bourbon virus is in fact viral which made treatment with antibiotics used with other tick-borne illnesses ineffective.