The Heartland virus (HRTV) is a tick-borne phlebovirus discovered in northwestern Missouri by Dr. Scott Folk of Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Missouri. The virus was first proven to infect humans in 2009 when two farmers, living 60 miles (97 km) apart, presented with fever, fatigue, diarrhea, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia.
The Heartland virus (HRTV) has been isolated from the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) by researchers from the CDC and Missouri Western State University. Work continues to identify the reservoir host. The reservoir host is unknown, as HRTV has not been isolated from any wild or domestic animals. Many white-tailed deer and raccoon from northwestern Missouri had antibodies to HRTV, suggesting that these animals may be hosts. In a retrospective study using convenience samples of different animal sera only deer, raccoon, coyotes, and moose had antibodies against HRTV. They lived in thirteen states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont. The infections could have occurred as early as 2003, based on the estimated ages of affected deer.
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