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J Med Entomol. 2018 May 4;55(3):701-705. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjx251.

Surveillance for Tick-Borne Viruses Near the Location of a Fatal Human Case of Bourbon Virus (Family Orthomyxoviridae: Genus Thogotovirus) in Eastern Kansas, 2015.

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Arbovirus Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO.
College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Topeka, KS.
Biology Department, Heckert-Wells Hall, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS.


Bourbon virus (Family Orthomyxoviridae: Genus Thogotovirus) was first isolated from a human case-patient residing in Bourbon County, Kansas, who subsequently died. Before becoming ill in late spring of 2014, the patient reported several tick bites. In response, we initiated tick surveillance in Bourbon County and adjacent southern Linn County during spring and summer of 2015. We collected 20,639 host-seeking ticks representing four species from 12 sites. Amblyomma americanum (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae) and Dermacentor variabilis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae) accounted for nearly all ticks collected (99.99%). Three tick pools, all composed of adult A. americanum ticks collected in Bourbon County, were virus positive. Two pools were Heartland virus (Family Bunyaviridae: Genus Phlebovirus) positive, and one was Bourbon virus positive. The Bourbon virus positive tick pool was composed of five adult females collected on a private recreational property on June 5. Detection of Bourbon virus in the abundant and aggressive human-biting tick A. americanum in Bourbon County supports the contention that A. americanum is a vector of Bourbon virus to humans. The current data combined with virus detections in Missouri suggest that Bourbon virus is transmitted to humans by A. americanum ticks, including both the nymphal and adult stages, that ticks of this species become infected as either larvae, nymphs or both, perhaps by feeding on viremic vertebrate hosts, by cofeeding with infected ticks, or both, and that Bourbon virus is transstadially transmitted. Multiple detections of Heartland virus and Bourbon virus in A. americanum ticks suggest that these viruses share important components of their transmission cycles.


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