A hardy tick species that survived a harsh winter in the northeast has inexplicably arrived in Arkansas. The Longhorned tick, native to Asia, was discovered in New Jersey, West Virginia and Virginia last August, and was found again this spring, but this time it showed up on a dog in northwest Arkansas near Bentonville. Oklahoma State University researchers confirmed the discovery last week. The Longhorned tick can carry diseases that pose a serious threat to humans and animals. If bitten, the tick can cause a severe fever in humans that has a 30% fatality rate.
A new possible case of the tick-borne Bourbon Virus is renewing Representative Scott Fitzpatrick’s call for more information from the Missouri Health Department. Fitzpatrick wants to know how many Missourians have tested positive for the virus. He disagrees with the department’s argument that releasing the details could lead to the public figuring out the identities of the victims, as well as violating health information laws.
“Why can’t they tell us state-wide how many people have tested positive for the Bourbon virus? Unless everybody that’s been tested has tested positive, and unless we know who exactly was tested, I don’t think it’s a valid argument. I think it’s been a series of bad decisions by the Department.”
The legislature has responded by proposing a million dollar cut to the agency’s budget next fiscal year.
The Bourbon Virus can cause a high fever, headache, decreased appetite, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash on the abdomen, chest and back which can cause organ failure that leads to death.