The Norman Transcript

Homepage

May 28, 2014

Oklahoma man dies after acquiring Heartland virus

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma man has died after acquiring the Heartland virus, making him the second person in the U.S. to die after coming down with the illness, state health officials said Tuesday.

The state Department of Health released few details but said the man was from Delaware County in northeast Oklahoma, was over the age of 65 and died recently from complications of the virus, which is found in the lone star tick and is likely spread through tick bites. The virus was first identified in 2009, in Missouri.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the other patient who died after acquiring the virus had other health conditions. The CDC did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking more information late Tuesday.

Other cases have been diagnosed in Missouri and Tennessee, but those patients recovered. Like previous cases, the Oklahoma victim had a history of outdoor activities and exposure, said Becky Coffman, an epidemiologist in acute disease with the Oklahoma Health Department.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, bruising easily and diarrhea. There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat the illness.

Coffman said people who become ill after spending a lot of time outdoors should disclose to physicians if they have a history of tick bites to help reach a correct diagnosis.

The incubation period before the onset of symptoms of the Heartland virus is unknown, but symptoms caused by other tick-borne illnesses generally begin two weeks after infection, Coffman said.

Coffman said campers and others who spend a lot of time outdoors should check themselves “at least daily” for ticks.

Although there is no routine testing available for Heartland virus, protocols are in place for investigational diagnostic testing.

The state Health Department recommends using insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, avoiding bushy and wooded areas where ticks thrive, and conducting thorough tick checks after spending time outside.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
New and Developing

Headlines

Sports
Opinion

Features

Must Read

Big 12 Media Days
Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Business

Photos


Facebook