The CDC is now investigating a previously unknown tick-borne disease responsible for the death of John Seested of Fort Scott, Kansas. Although Seested suffered multiple organ failure after being bitten by a tick, stanadard tick-borne sickness tests initially performed at the University of Kansas reportedly came back negative, nor did he respond to traditional treatments, according to Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the facility. To date, Seested is the only known victim, although Hawkinson added that they suspect others may been exposed. They also believe that the disease has probably been around for sometime, although no one had the diagnostic ability to identify until now.
Described as being similar to other tick-borne viruses found in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, the now named “Bourbon Virus” (after the Kansas county where it was first detected) still remains a mystery to researchers, although researchers are investigating to see if it is actually a new form of Heartland virus infection which has been identified in eight patients in Missouri and Tennessee as of March 2014. Studies suggest that Lone Star ticks which are responsible for Ehrlichiosis may also transmit the Bourbon Virus.
In the meantime, the CDC is warning people to take extra careful measures to avoid been bitten by ticks, including wearing long pants and sleeves, as well as boots and socks when hiking through areas where they may reside.
Like other illnesses spread by ticks, initial symptoms of Bourbon Virus included malaise, fever, and anorexia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common tick-borne diseases in the US are the following:
Lyme disease, the most commonly recognized in the northeast and upper Midwest states is said to affect more than 300,000 people annually. Transmitted by deer tick here, it is also caused by bites from the western blacklegged tick along the Pacific coast. These ticks are also associated with Anaplasmosis in the same regions.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is spread by the American dog tick and Rocky Mountain wood tick.
Colorado tick fever is also caused by the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and generally occurs in the the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4,000-10,500 feet.
Babesiosis, is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases here are found in the northeast and upper Midwest and caused by Babesia microti transmitted by the blacklegged tick.
Borrelia miyamotoi is another recently diagnosed illness in the U.S. Like so many others, it is transmitted by the blacklegged and occurs in generally the same areas as Lyme disease.
Powassan disease (also) transmitted by the blacklegged tick and the groundhog tick is found primarily in northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.
Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis is transmitted to humans by the Gulf Coast tick.
STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick found in the southeastern and eastern U.S.
Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. It has been diagnosed in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
Tularemia occurs throughout most of the US and is transmitted to people by the dog tick, the wood tick and the lone star tick.
364D rickettsiosis is a new disease found in California, and results from bites of the Pacific Coast tick