Detecting a deadly virus that is spreading fast

Heartland is a mysterious and rare virus, found on ticks, that is spreading in several places. Experts warn the virus could create a potential wave of disease.

According to NBC News, researchers of Emory University, USA, likened Heartland to a mysterious but deadly virus. It is found on the “lone star” tick (Lone Star Tick or Amblyomma americanum) in Georgia.

The virus has been detected in at least six US states and experts warn it is spreading rapidly and can become a dangerous disease.

The study was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, the virus was reported on the Lone Star Tick tick in the states of Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Kansas and New York. At present, experts still do not know whether virus Will it spread to other parts of the US?

Detecting a deadly virus that is spreading fast-1
The Heartland virus, found on the Lone Star Tick tick, has sickened at least 50 people. Some of them have died. Photo: AFP.

According to Associate Professor Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec, co-author of the study, Emory University: “We want to raise awareness about this mysterious virus rather than panic. In the spring, people tend to go out more and they may be exposed to ticks that carry the virus.”

The expert emphasized: “Heartland is an emerging infectious disease that is still poorly understood. We’re trying to learn everything about it before the virus becomes a big deal.”

The researchers also warn that the ongoing climate crisis is promoting warmer and shorter winters. This increases the chance for certain species of ticks to reproduce more frequently and widens their ranges.

Information about the Heartland virus is still very scanty. When the virus jumps from ticks to humans, it can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain. The CDC says it’s not clear what other types of ticks can spread the virus or if people are still infected in other ways.

Some patients have been diagnosed with alarmingly low white blood cells and platelets, affecting blood clotting. Their liver function tests showed elevated liver enzymes, warning of a potentially serious illness.

The CDC estimates that by January 2021, there have only been about 50 cases of illness caused by this virus. In severe cases, patient emergency care. Most recover completely. However, some older people have passed away. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for this disease.

Heartland first appeared in northwestern Missouri, in 2019. The first two cases of the virus were men, hospitalized with symptoms of high fever, diarrhea, and muscle aches.

In addition to this virus, the Lone Star Tick has also been found to carry the bacteria that cause ehrlichiosis and tularemia. Some people bitten by this tick develop a meat allergy.

According to Zing

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