MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

May 28, 2014

Oklahoma resident dies from tick-borne Heartland virus

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has confirmed the state’s first case of Heartland virus and death from it. A Delaware County resident died recently from complications of the virus. The virus is found in the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and is likely spread through tick bites.  

The Oklahoma case is the 10th person confirmed with the virus and the second person to die from it. All of the patients diagnosed with Heartland virus reported spending several hours per day in outside activities or occupations.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, bruising easily and diarrhea. There is no routine testing available for Heartland virus.

There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat the disease. Preventing bites from ticks and mosquitoes may prevent this and other infections. The health department recommends:

• Use insect repellents.

• Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

• Avoid bushy and wooded areas.

• Perform thorough tick checks soon and daily after spending time outdoors.

Information on reducing exposure to ticks:

www.ok.gov/health/Disease,_Prevention,_Preparedness/Acute_Disease_Service/Disease_Information/Tickborne_and_Mosquitoborne_Diseases/index.html.

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