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BREAKING NEWS

Heartland Virus Disease

John AndersonJune 9, 2023

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Crawford County Health Department have identified Heartland Virus Disease (Heartland), a rare tickborne illness, in a Crawford County resident. Healthcare providers diagnosed the resident in late May 2023 after testing coordinated through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The KDHE said this is the first case of Heartland in Crawford County and only the third case identified in Kansas since the virus’s discovery in northwest Missouri in 2009. The previous two cases were identified in Miami County in 2015 and Anderson County in 2018. To date, there have been over 50 cases of Heartland diagnosed across areas of the Midwest and Southern United States. Heartland virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Lone Star Tick, the most common tick in Kansas, which is most active from May through August. The symptoms of Heartland are vague and include fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, headache and occasionally a rash. Healthcare providers should consider Heartland in patients with compatible clinical illness and bloodwork findings when other common tickborne illness testing is negative. Ticks are commonly found at the edge of trails, on tall grasses and in wooded, shaded areas. There are no medications to prevent or treat infection with Heartland virus. Antibiotics do not treat viruses. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medications may relieve some symptoms. Some patients may need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids and supportive care for pain, fever, or other related problems.

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