Transmitted by the lone star tick bite, the Heartland virus or Bunyaviridae was discovered in 2009. Reports of this disease have come from Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. When testing animals in Missouri — specifically raccoons and deer — approximately 60 percent were found to have been exposed to Heartland virus.
Signs and Symptoms
Only nine patients are available for case evaluation, all being male over the age of fifty. Among these patients, symptoms included fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and poor appetite. Available blood tests showed leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.
Patients presenting with the symptoms described above who do not respond to doxycycline and who test negative for other known tick-borne infections may be appropriate for Heartland virus consideration. RT-PCR can be done to examine the virus' genetic material (ssRNA) in the blood.