What is the Bourbon Virus?

What do you think of when you hear the phrase Bourbon Virus? Does it make you think of an illness related to drinking too much Bourbon? While the name is deceiving, you should become aware of what the Bourbon Virus really is; a tick-borne disease adding to the many reasons that tick bites are no joke.

Only recently discovered (2014) this new tick-borne illness has taken a life in Missouri. Tamela Wilson was 58 years old and only the fifth confirmed case of tick-borne Bourbon Virus when she passed away. After removing two ticks and not feeling well, she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and given antibiotics. There were several trips to the hospital after that, but the doctors really didn’t know what to do. An unfortunate ending due to a virus so new that there is still too little information out there.

What Do We Know About Tick-Borne Bourbon Virus?

The CDC tells us that this belongs to the Thogotovirus family. It also says that it is “likely” spread through tick and other insect bites. Just another example of how much more there is to learn about this virus. So far, the identified cases have been in the Midwest and South which means it’s not a current concern for us here in Massachusetts. However, it is summertime, and those are both travel hotspots, so it is something to be aware of.

Bourbon Virus Symptoms and Treatment

What we’ve seen so far is that this virus causes a rash, headache, fever, body aches, weakness, and vomiting. Low blood count in the cells that combat infection and prevent bleeding has also been present. Tests for tick-borne Bourbon Virus are still under development. Only the symptoms are treatable at this point. Because this is a virus, antibiotics are not a valid treatment. If you suspect you have Bourbon Virus, see your doctor immediately for the management of symptoms and close monitoring.

Bourbon Virus Prevention

We know that we sound repetitive, but at Mosquito Squad of Central Massachusetts and Mosquito Squad of the North Shore, we can’t emphasize enough that the best way to prevent illness caused by ticks is not to get bitten. With yet another possibly fatal tick-borne virus coming to light, we remind you to prepare yourself when going into places where ticks can be prevalent and when traveling to states that have different tick populations than we do here in Massachusetts.

You know the tick safety drill by now: wear protective and light colored clothing, use repellant with DEET, and be sure to check and double check after your time outdoors. As for your property, let us help control ticks there. Our barrier treatment and tick tube systems are a fantastic way to keep from having to worry about ticks in your own yard. The spray eliminates 85-90% on contact and continues to work for up to 3 weeks. The tubes actually help eliminate next year’s tick population by targeting larvae ticks before they can grow into disease-spreading nymph and adult ticks. Let us tell you more and schedule the first step in a plan that will keep you worry-free when it comes to ticks in your own backyard. 877-387-7823

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