ST. LOUIS (AP) - Federal health investigators have confirmed that ticks carry a new virus that sickened two Missouri men.
Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspected ticks were a likely source of the Heartland virus, which was named for the St. Joseph hospital where the men were treated in 2009.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a new study authored by CDC scientist Harry Savage says samples from ticks at the patients' farms and a nearby conservation area have tested positive for the Heartland virus. The study was published Monday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
There are no treatments for Heartland virus, which causes low white blood cell counts, fever, chills, diarrhea and other symptoms. Both patients recovered after nearly two weeks in the hospital.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois public health officials say they've found the season's first West Nile-positive bird in southwestern Illinois.
The Monroe County starling's test results come two months after the state found the year's first mosquitoes with the virus.
The agency's director says that means it's "only a matter of time" until the illness is found in humans this season.
The first mosquitoes carrying West Nile were found in May in Cook County. Since then, West Nile's been found in animals in a total of 17 counties.
Last year, the virus was found in 55 of the state's counties and nearly 300 people contracted the illness. Twelve died.
This year's spring flooding caused an increase in mosquitoes - both the kind that carry the virus and those that don't.