Novel Tick-Borne Illness Caused by Bourbon Virus Confirmed in Oklahoma
For Release: May 29,2015 - Office of Communications - 405/271-5601
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received confirmation through laboratory testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a Payne County resident tested positive for a tick-borne disease caused by a recently identified virus known as the Bourbon virus. This case is the first to be detected in Oklahoma, and only the second case in the United States.
Because the disease is so new, more research is needed to fully understand the severity and geographic range of Bourbon virus. Symptoms of infection with Bourbon virus may include fever, severe muscle and joint pain, fatigue, disorientation, diarrhea, and a rash. The Oklahoma patient first reported symptoms in May 2014, and has since made a full recovery.
Oklahoma ranks among those states with the highest incidence of other tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia. Symptoms of these more common tick-borne illnesses may include fever, chills, headache, vomiting, rash or painful swelling of lymph nodes near the tick bite. Although there is no treatment for Bourbon virus infections, most tick borne diseases can be treated successfully with early diagnosis and appropriate antibiotics, so it is important to seek medical attention if a fever and other signs of illness are noticed within 14 days of a tick bite or being in an area where ticks are lurking.
The OSDH advises persons who participate in hiking, camping, bicycle trail riding, yard work, gardening, and other outdoor activities to prevent tick bites by following the tips below.