The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 29, 2013

One more thing to worry about: Heartland virus latest addition to list of tick-borne diseases

JOPLIN, Mo. — Kevin Badgley said that in the spring he can sometimes see tick nymphs “questing.”

They climb to the tops of plants, weeds or blades of grass, attach their back legs to the plant, and reach out and flail their front legs, waiting to attach to any animal that passes by.

Sometimes, said Badgley, a naturalist and education outreach specialist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the young ticks seem to line up.

When that animal is a biped that lives in Missouri, the eagerness that ticks demonstrate to attach to some host can become a problem.

Heartland virus

That ticks cause illnesses — Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, Q fever and Lyme disease — isn’t new, but what is new is being called the Heartland virus.

Two farmers in the St. Joseph area in 2009 were treated at Heartland Regional Medical Center there for fever and fatigue. Doctors initially suspected ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne illness common in Missouri, but the patients didn’t respond to antibiotics used to treat the disease. Doctors sent blood samples to experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC scientists then traveled to northwest Missouri, finding the new virus in ticks collected on the patients’ farms and in the Honey Creek Conservation Area. What has been dubbed the Heartland virus was detailed recently in a paper published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The author of the study, CDC research entomologist Harry Savage, was back in Andrew County near St. Joseph last week in the field, collecting more ticks.

Savage said by telephone that at this point, only the two human cases have been documented, but he’s sure there are others.

“Other Heartland cases out there probably have been misdiagnosed,” he said.

Savage said the lone star tick carries the virus. The female adult has a white spot.

The virus causes a fever, chills, body aches, nausea and diarrhea. The symptoms are similar to those associated with other tick-borne illnesses.

“This is just one more disease,” Savage said. “All we know now is it’s in northwest Missouri. There’s no reason to believe it’s not more widespread. Surveillance will be broadened to detect more human cases.”

Text Only
Local News
  • State audit of Joplin School District begins

    Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Burglary conviction draws shock prison time

    A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.

    July 21, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life

    The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • 071714 Jasper Cty Dispatch1_72.jpg Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications

    The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council

    Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.

    July 20, 2014

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven

    If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042017 Jo Ellis_c.jpg Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage

    All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed

    Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Do you think Missouri should pass legislation that would allow a prescription drug database to be kept?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter