Health officials warn of newly confirmed tick virus in southern - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Health officials warn of newly confirmed tick virus in southern Indiana

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Indiana health officials are warning about a new tick virus just confirmed in the area.

The CDC confirmed two case of the Heartland Virus this week that occurred over the past two years in southern Indiana. Infectious disease doctors say the virus is so new that no specific treatments are available.

Dr. Paul Schulz, an infectious disease specialist with Norton Healthcare, said the virus is rare and hard to detect because symptoms are similar to the flu and include fever, headaches or muscle pain.

“In a lot of tick-borne illness, the patient never knows that they had a tick bite, and we don’t find a tick,” Schulz said.

The two southern Indiana patients survived, but doctors said it could claim a patient's life if their body is not able to fight it off, making exposure prevention crucial.

Doctors said you should remove the entire tick immediately.

“Within that first 24 hours, and typically if you (remove the tick), the risk of transmission of anything is extremely low,” Schulz said.

Schulz said he recommends using tweezers to remove the entire tick and not leave the head behind. Checking for ticks, using repellents and wearing long clothing are the best ways to avoid infection.

Indiana health officials have not released which southern Indiana counties where the virus was detected.

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