Case Of Tick-Borne Heartland Virus Confirmed In Northwest Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) -- A Northwest Arkansas resident has contracted a relatively new tick-borne disease -- the first case in the state.

An Arkansas citizen had a confirmed case of the Heartland virus, which is transferred from the bite of the Lone Star tick, according to a Arkansas Department of Health press release. The individual, who lives in Northwest Arkansas, fully recovered.

There is no vaccine to prevent the disease, nor is there a drug to treat it, the release states.

People who get the Heartland virus come down with a flu-like illness, with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, appetite loss, and tiredness.

There have been more than 20 cases of Heartland virus in several states in the Southeast and South Central U.S. to date.

Most patients must be hospitalized, but they usually recover. One person has died from the illness.

Lone Star Ticks have also been linked to a lifetime allergy to red meat.

Arkansas has one of the highest rates in the United States for tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia, according to the ADH.

The best way to treat the tick-borne diseases is through prevention, and the ADH recommends taking the following precautions before doing outdoor activities:

  • Use insect repellent
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Avoid wooded or brushy areas
  • Check for ticks after spending time outside