Delaware County, OK, United States (4E) – A Delaware County resident died of complications from a new tick-borne disease called Heartland Virus, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) said on Tuesday.
The victim, a man older than 65, is the first Oklahoma resident to die from the virus discovered only four years ago and believed to be transmitted by bites from a Lone Star tick or Amblyomma americanum. The victim was also the second person to die following infection from Heartland virus and 10th person to be infected with it. Other cases of infection have occurred in Missouri and Tennessee.
The virus first identified in Missouri in 2009 belongs to a family of viruses called phlebovirus that is passed through the bite of a mosquito, tick, or sandfly, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of infection can include fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, bruising easily and diarrhea.
Scientists are still studying the virus and there is no testing available. The diagnosis used is for acute illnesses compatible with a Heartland virus infection, the OSDH said.
So far, researchers learned that all the patients diagnosed with Heartland virus are above 50 years old and reported they spent several hours a day outside doing activities or for their occupations. The CDC said people who work or do activities outside are exposed to ticks or insects. The sickness was reported from May to September.
There is no treatment for the disease and antibiotics are ineffective so prevention is the only way to avoid the virus. Some patients may need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids, and treatment for pain or fever.
The CDC advises people to use insect repellents, wear protective clothing, avoid bushy and wooded areas, and do tick checks after spending time outdoors.
Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs, the CDC advises. Insecticide or pesticide can also be used to rid home of ticks and other bugs.
For people who don’t want to use chemical-based insecticide in the home, essential oils-based insecticide like Nature-Cide can do the job safely. The Nature-Cide Flea and Tick spray contains natural ingredients that effectively eradicate and prevent flea and tick infestations.
Nature-Cide is produced by Pacific Shore Holdings Inc. (OTC: PSHR) of Chatsworth, California.