The Oklahoma State Department of Health has confirmed the state’s first case and death of the Heartland Virus, according to a news release Tuesday (May 17).
A Delaware County resident died recently from complications of the virus, according to the release.
The virus is found in the lone star tick, and it’s likely spread through tick bites, the release states.
“[The] Heartland Virus was first identified in Missouri in 2009. The Oklahoma case is only the tenth person confirmed with the virus and the second person to die form it,” the release states.
Other cases have occurred in Missouri and Tennessee. All patients diagnosed with the Heartland Virus reported spending several hours per day in outside areas.
Symptoms can include, “fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, bruising easily and diarrhea,” according to the release.
There isn’t any kind of routine testing available for the Heartland Virus, but protocols are in place for investigational diagnostic testing. Doctors can contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Acute Disease Service for consultation on the virus, the release states.
There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat the disease. Preventing bites from ticks and mosquitoes may prevent this and other infections, according to the release.
For more information on reducing exposure to ticks, click here.