KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the weather gets warmer there is new concern about a tick-borne illness and it’s not Lyme disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports lone star ticks do not carry Lyme disease, but recent studies show it does carry a different illness called Heartland virus.
Heartland virus can cause fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhea and muscle or joint pain. Symptoms are so severe many people need to be hospitalized. The CDC warns it may take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear following a tick bite.
There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat infection with Heartland virus. Antibiotics do not treat viruses, according to the CDC.
So far the Heartland virus has been found in people living in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
Experts do not know yet if lone star ticks are the only type of tick to carry the disease.