Here are some tips for protecting your family
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that The virus has been diagnosed in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee over the past five years.
“The Heartland virus can be difficult to diagnose,” said Paul Schulz, M.D., infectious disease physician and system epidemiologist for Norton Healthcare. “The symptoms mimic those of other tick borne illnesses and testing is currently performed only by the CDC.”
“Contracting Heartland virus is very rare to date and there is more of a risk of contracting illnesses from other insects, such as West Nile or Dengue,” Dr. Schulz said. “In order to protect yourself and your family, follow safety measures when outdoors.”
When spending time outdoors, the CDC recommends:
- Avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass
- Using insect repellent containing DEET or another insecticide
- Wearing long sleeves and pants
- Conducting a full-body tick check after spending time outdoors
- Examining outdoor gear and pets, as ticks can “hitchhike” into the home and attach to a person later
If you find a tick, remove the tick the right way and watch the affected area for a few days afterward.