Friday, September 19, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rock doc: Infections spread by tick bites

By
September 11, 2013 |

When my dog and I walk along the Snake River during the warm seasons of the year, we can both come home with a tick or two. I’m used to feeling those little legs on my skin or scalp and picking off the critters. If I’m lucky, I get to them before they attach and start sucking my blood. Because I’ve been doing this all my life I don’t get stressed out about ticks, but I do know they can carry certain diseases.
Recently the Shots Website of National Public Radio reported that scientists have made an advance about an unusual illness that befell two farmers in Missouri in 2009. The men came down with bad fevers, nausea and diarrhea. They were sick enough they sought medical attention and it was discovered the platelet counts in their blood had dropped significantly.
At first, they were treated with antibiotics for some sort of bacterial infection. But the treatments didn’t help. A doctor at Heartland Regional Medical Center in Missouri then sent samples of the farmers’ blood to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When the samples were analyzed, medical researchers turned up a new virus, not one previously known to science. They named it the Heartland virus.
Happily, the sick men ultimately got better, their bodies beating back the infection that had made them so ill. But the question remained: how were they exposed to the virus? The basic clues were that the two men worked outdoors, were in the same state, and had been bitten by ticks before coming down sick.
Federal researchers have now figured out how the virus was transmitted to the men. In 2012 they collected some 50,000 ticks (what a job!), including taking some ticks off dogs and horses at the farms of the men who had become ill. Analyzing the ticks, they have found the Heartland virus.
“It’s the first time anyone has found (the virus) in the wild, in the environment,” said researcher Harry Savage to Shots. “It means the virus is yet another tick-borne disease in the U.S.”
The Heartland virus has so far been detected in only one kind of tick, a species called the lone star tick. (The bug isn’t named for Texas, but for a little white dot that adults carry on their backs.) And only the juvenile ticks called nymphs have been shown to carry the virus. About 1 in 500 of the nymphs has the virus.
“If you were looking for Lyme in Connecticut, there would be more ticks infected,” Savage said. “But for a virus, (1 in 500) is a substantial number.”
The lone star tick is found in the lower Midwest, the southeast, and along the coast of New York and New England. The Heartland virus gives people living in those regions another reason to check themselves when they come in from the outdoors during the warm seasons of the year.
Happy tick hunting, everyone!
Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. 

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?

E. Kirsten Peters

.

News

Arson arrest made in King Fire; Swansboro evacuated

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suspected arsonist nabbed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
King Fire briefing in Camino attracts a large crowd

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
GDPUD considers forming ag committee

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

G’town residents briefed on fire

By Michaela Johnson | From Page: A6

 
Help offered for dislocated workers

By News Release | From Page: A7

Scheduled breakfasts cancelled

By News Release | From Page: A7

 
Volunteers sheltering animal evacuees

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A8 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Invaluable donation

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: Not so fast lane

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Rock doc: How hard is that?

By E. Kirsten Peters | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Traffic jam

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Kid Obama vs. Little Bear Putin

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Lumber mills

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Society’s need for instant gratification

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Winds of war

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

On tap

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

 
Lady Trojan harriers edge new league foes

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9

Ponderosa spikers prevail in 4

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
King Fire cancels Civil War

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

Final nonleague games for some squads

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bruins get split

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Roundup: Sept 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Prospecting

Roll out the barrels at Oktoberfest

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Things to do: Sept. 19, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Enter an artful world

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Myra Cooper Holmes is enmeshed in her work

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2 | Gallery

‘Spamalot’ auditions move to Vets Hall

By Imagination Theater | From Page: B3

 
Come out for EDH summer finale

By Julie Samrick | From Page: B3

Extraordinary Collections on display in Folsom

By Folsom History | From Page: B3

 
Independent film in pre-production

By Left For Dead Productions | From Page: B4

See travel posters at Railroad Museum

By Railtown | From Page: B4

 
Placerville Clayworks launches new Website

By News Release | From Page: B4

Bands to play for peace

By Spiritual Center For Positive Living | From Page: B5

 
Apassionato—A toast to the arts

By El Dorado Arts Council | From Page: B5

Exhibition celebrates PPIE centennial

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Stunning acrobatic feats to wow audiences

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B7

Learn pirate speak at Fairytale Town

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B12

 
Tall Ship to arrive in Sacramento

By Grays Harbor Historical Seaport | From Page: B12

Wining in downtown Amador City

By Amador City | From Page: B12

 
Run for Courage to raise funds for awareness

By Run For Courage | From Page: B12

Railtown celebrates working on the railroad

By Railtown | From Page: B12

 
.

Essentials

Lake levels 9-18-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime log: Sept. 4-5

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Jeanine Rae Henderson-Hodges funeral notice

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
William “Bill” V. Miller

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Why buyers will either love or hate your home

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

 
Putting a sense of place in your space

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

.

Home Source

Why buyers will either love or hate your home

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

Putting a sense of place in your space

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4