What We Know About the Deadly 'Bourbon Virus'

Only one case has been detected, but others may be out there
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2015 3:25 PM CST
The Bourbon virus may be carried by ticks.   (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho)

(Newser) – The Bourbon virus—so named because it first emerged recently in Bourbon County, Kansas—has puzzled researchers. A man with the first known case of the disease died last year, and since then, experts have been working to learn more about it. A new study outlines findings, NBC News reports. "It took months to find out this a novel virus that belonged to a genus of viruses called Thogotovirus," which have been seen "throughout the world," CDC researcher Erin Staples tells NBC.

Just one example of the Thogotovirus has appeared in the US, the researchers write in a CDC publication: Aransas Bay virus, found in ticks in a seabird nest off Texas. Though the Kansas death is the first scientists have linked to the illness, Staples believes it has probably affected others; they just didn't know it. That doesn't mean we should panic, she notes; we should just continue to protect ourselves against ticks, which may be carriers. Mosquitoes and other animals may also be involved, and researchers are preparing to investigate.

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