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Health Official Speaks Out About Rare Tick Virus Confirmed In Oklahoma

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A new tick-borne virus discovered in Kansas last year, now has a confirmed case in Oklahoma. A new tick-borne virus discovered in Kansas last year, now has a confirmed case in Oklahoma.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A new tick-borne virus discovered in Kansas last year, now has a confirmed case in Oklahoma. This is now the second case in the nation.

These thirsty blood suckers can latch on to you with a quick brush by grass or are carried into your home by your pet. Ticks are well known to carry a variety of dangerous diseases.

Now, a new virus is added to the list of the six known tick-borne diseases in Oklahoma.

It's called Bourbon Virus.

5/27/15 Related Story: New Tick Borne Virus Confirmed In Oklahoma

A virus still so new health officials know very little about it.

“There are only two cases identified in the United States so we just don't have enough cases to really understand the severity of the illness,” said Dr. Kristy Bradley, a state epidemiologist.

The virus was first discovered last year in Bourbon County, Kansas. The first patient died as a result.

Then last May, a Payne County woman contracted the virus, a diagnosis confirmed a year later by CDC.

“There is still a lot to be learned about this virus, but both of the cases developed illness following a tick bite,” said Dr. Bradley.

Symptoms are said to develop within a week of the bite and include: fever, severe muscle and joint pain, fatigue, disorientation, diarrhea, and a rash.

“This wet weather is very conducive to a large number of ticks and so we expect to see an increase in tick-borne illnesses in Oklahoma,” she said.

Due to the wet weather, health officials say you need to be extra precautions this summer.

Your best line of defense against ticks is using DEET bug repellant, showering once you come inside, and always check for ticks.

Oklahoma ranks among the highest states with tick-borne illness incidents.

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