Heartland Virus (HRTV) Infection is a tick-borne phlebovirus. Phleboviruses cause humans to get a flu-like illness and cause the levels of white blood cells in the blood to go low dramatically. They are passed through tick, sandfly, or mosquito bites. The phlebovirus Bhanja virus causes heartland virus infection.
Dr. Scott Folk, a Heartland Regional Medical Center doctor, found out and reported the Heartland Virus in 2009. The virus was discovered in northwestern Missouri and was first proven to infect humans when two farmers, residing 60 miles apart, presented the same symptoms. The Lone Star Tick, a widespread tick in Missouri, has been discovered to cause the Heartland virus. The Lone Star tick becomes infected with Heartland virus when it sucks an infected animal’s blood.
So far, all known human cases of Heartland Virus are reported from five US states Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Most infections were reported between May to September.