Health department: Bourbon virus not found in Meramec State Park - KMOV.com

Health department: Bourbon virus not found in Meramec State Park ticks

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A female deer tick is seen under a University of Rhode Island microscope in the entomoloy lab  (Credit: AP Photo / Victoria Arocho, File) A female deer tick is seen under a University of Rhode Island microscope in the entomoloy lab (Credit: AP Photo / Victoria Arocho, File)
SULLIVAN, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said Bourbon virus was not detected in ticks collected at Meramec State Park in Sullivan.

The testing, conducted by DHSS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health agencies, was a follow-up investigation to the Bourbon virus case found in summer 2017.

More than 7,000 ticks were collected from Meramec State Park and tested for Bourbon virus and Heartland virus (both tick-borne illnesses).

Bourbon virus was not detected in any of the ticks collected, but Heartland virus was detected in one of the tick groups, according to DHSS.

The DHSS said the results do not mean Bourbon virus is not in some ticks in the park, but only that none of the ticks tested were infected at the time of the investigation.

People diagnosed with Bourbon virus show signs similar to infection of Heartland virus including fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, anorexia, diarrhea and rash. Bourbon virus can affect blood cells that help the body fight infection and prevent bleeding.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Bourbon virus.

The DHSS recommends using tick-avoidance techniques anytime you are outdoors. This includes applying bug spray to your body and clothes, staying on marked and paved trails, wearing light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants and immediately checking yourself for ticks after being outside.

If you do find a tick on you, the DHSS says to remove it right away by grabbing the base of the head of the tick with tweezers and pulling it off in a straight motion.

If you are exposed to tick bites or habitats and begin developing symptoms or Bourbon or Heartland virus, seek medical treatment quickly and tell them about your tick exposure.

For further information about the investigation or about ticks, call DHSS's Office of Veterinary Public Health at 573-526-4780 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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