U.S health officials are investigating a new strain of virus linked to the death of a Kansas man, who fell ill after being bitten by a tick, then went into organ failure and died about two weeks later.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that it’s working with Kansas officials to find any other cases. They’ve named the virus “Bourbon” after the county where the man lived.
The pathogen belongs to a group known as thogotoviruses. The Kansas man’s death is the first time a thogotovirus is known to have caused human illness in the U.S., and only the eighth time one is known to have caused symptoms in people, according to an article published Friday in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.
The Kansas man was doing outdoor work in Bourbon County last year, the CDC said, when he went to the doctor after finding an engorged tick on his shoulder and falling ill a few days later. He had a fever and headache, according to the article, and was given an antibiotic commonly used against tick-borne diseases. The man’s condition didn’t improve, however, and his kidney function deteriorated and he couldn’t breath on his own. On day 11 of his illness, he died.
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