St. Louis Co. resident tests positive for possible case of Bourbon virus

Fifty-eight-year-old Tamela Wilson is the first person in Missouri to test positive for the tick-borne illness known as the Bourbon Virus. (Credit: KMOV)

The Missourian is reporting that a St. Louis County resident tested positive for a possible case of the Bourbon virus.

The Centers for Disease Control is still running tests, which should have results in two to three weeks.

The Bourbon virus can be fatal. It is fairly new, having been discovered in 2014.

Dr. David Warren says researchers don’t know a whole lot about the virus at this point.

“We don’t know what animals in the wild can be infected by it and we don't know how many cases there are out there. There may be minor or mild cases that we're missing,” Warren said.

Tamela Wilson, 58, lived and worked at Meramec State Park in Sullivan. A few days after being bitten by a tick last year, her health began to deteriorate. She had a rash, severe headaches and pain—symptoms of the Bourbon virus. She died within weeks.

Wilson was only the fifth confirmed case of the deadly disease since it was discovered.

The State Health Department is not only warning the public about the Bourbon virus, but also alerting doctors as well.

Warren stresses prevention: wearing long pants and long sleeves in the woods, insect repellent, and a careful tick check of your body.

Because of privacy laws, the health department won’t reveal much about the person who tested positive for the Bourbon virus except to say that it is a St. Louis County resident and the person has recovered.

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