Two Hoosiers test positive for rare Heartland virus transmitted by tick bite

Lone Star ticks are one of the most common ticks in Missouri. It carries ehrlichiosis which causes flu-like symptoms among other diseases

After her death June 23, the state Department of Natural Resources collected ticks for testing and announced the park was "an area of interest" in an investigation of a Bourbon virus case.

Most cases have required hospitalization. The state health department confirmed the same day that a resident had contracted Bourbon virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe Powassan virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

Powassan can be fatal, and there has been one confirmed case of the virus in Saratoga County.

The best defense is prevention of tick bites.

Ticks are found throughout IN in grassy and wooded areas. "You have to present it to them, and by the time you find out, it might be too late". In 2016, the state saw more than 200 cases of tick-borne illness. Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are all examples of tick-borne diseases found in Indiana.

The virus is spread through infected deer ticks.

You can reduce the risk of getting tick-borne illnesses by using tick repellents, wearing long sleeves and trousers, avoiding bushy and wooded areas, and doing tick checks after spending time outdoors.

After outdoor activities, people should conduct full-body tick checks using a hand-held or full-length mirror. Showering or bathing can help remove any unattached ticks. Tumbling dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 20 minutes will kill unattached ticks on clothing.

Attached ticks can be safely removed by using tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and pulling outward with steady and even pressure. After the tick is removed, the area should be washed thoroughly.

"You'll want to get rid of a tick by dunking it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet or wrapping it up in tape", Stevens said. Ticks should never be crushed with the fingernails.

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