New ‘Heartland’ disease emerges in U.S. Midwest

Carried by the Lone Star tick, it has no treatment or cure

By Janet Raloff, 09:32 AM April 25, 2014

A rare but serious virus infection has emerged in the central United States, a team of doctors has just reported. The virus causes fever, a drop in the blood’s infection-fighting white cells and a reduction in the blood’s clot-making platelets. Called Heartland disease, its name honors the Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo. That’s where the first men infected with the virus were treated. To date, there have been eight confirmed cases.

Researchers outline how the mystery disea...

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