Several years back, doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital received a patient who was a farmer from Bourbon County, Kansas, who struggled with an unknown disease.
Doctors could not determine the reason why his organs were failing. They tried all kinds of treatments, but after 10 days, his blood pressure collapsed, and his lungs stopped working.
Yet, Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital, believed a tick-borne illness. She remembers:
“We didn’t have an answer for the longest time regarding why is he not improving? What is causing this? Nothing that we’re doing is seeming to help even though we’re going to the nth degree to try and provide him supportive care and give him active care to try and get him better.”
The blood tests done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the presence of a new pathogen, much like overseas illnesses spread by ticks and mosquitoes, and named it the disease “the Bourbon virus”.
After 3 years of the discovery of this disease, it still remains a mystery. About a year later, a 2nd case was reported in Oklahoma. According to Dr. Hawkinson, other cases may have gone undiagnosed.
“I cannot give you a specific number, however certainly cases where people were ill and we think it appears like one sort of illness, but it isn’t really, and they end up recovering or they die and that’s what it truly is.”
She believes that the Bourbon virus has actually caused a broad spectrum of illness, and the symptoms are usually nonspecific, which makes them difficult to diagnose. Yet, these are the mild case symptoms:
- Muscle Aches
According to Lee Norman, the chief medical officer at KY Medical facility, it would be of terrific help if the CDC offered more flexibility for the testing for this virus. Before testing for the Bourbon virus, they need patients to have multiple specific symptoms, like low leukocyte count, high fever, low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes.
Moreover, Hawkinson urges people to do all necessary measurements to prevent ticks. You should check for ticks often when you spend much time outdoors, keep wood piles stacked and the grass cut, avoid wooded areas and wear long sleeves and trousers when in such areas.
Make sure you enjoy the following video to get more information on this virus:
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