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New research out of Colorado is focusing on a newly described disease affecting the Midwest and its effect on animal immunity.
Heartland virus disease is caused by a newly described Phlebovirus with human infections reported in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Infection is believed to be transmitted by a tick bite. The most common symptoms include fever, fatigue, anorexia, headache, nausea, arthralgia and diarrhea.
As of 2016, 9 cases of infection have been described - all men older than 50. Two patients have died.
Research to be published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases December issue looks at the immune response to Heartland virus in raccoons, goats, chickens, rabbits, hamsters and mice. Their finding that the only animal affected (mice without the receptor for interferon) suggests a path to research on helping humans fight the disease.
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