A report on the discovery of a new human pathogen, named “Heartland virus” was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the paper, authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Heartland Regional Medical Center describe the two known cases of illness caused by this novel virus, which occurred in 2009.
Both patients had tick bites in the days leading up to their illness, and were hospitalized with multiple symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue and diarrhea. Both patients recovered from their illness.
Much is yet to be learned about Heartland virus. The CDC is working with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, local health departments, and several healthcare facilities in Missouri to determine symptoms and potential severity of the disease, the geographic extent of the disease, how people are infected and ways to prevent infections.