The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is today reporting on the discovery of a new virus that may have contributed to the death of a previously healthy man in eastern Kansas in late spring 2014. A CDC study published today details the progression of the man’s illness and actions taken by CDC, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and University of Kansas Medical Center to treat and investigate the case.
The virus, named Bourbon virus for the county where the patient lived, is part of a group of viruses called thogoto viruses. This is the first time a virus in this group has been shown to cause human illness in the United States and only the eighth known case of thogoto viruses causing symptoms in people.
Since viruses in this group (thogoto viruses) have been linked to ticks or mosquitoes in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Bourbon virus might also be spread through tick or other insect bites. The Kansas man had received multiple tick bites in the days before becoming ill. After test results for many infectious diseases came back negative, a sample of the patient’s blood was sent to CDC for additional testing. Initial CDC testing showed evidence of an unidentified virus in the sample. CDC researchers then used Advanced Molecular Detection and determined that it was a new virus.