Lone Star tick is notorious for making people allergic to red meat. It may also carry deadly Bourbon virus.

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Image: Popular Science

Scientists know almost nothing about how Bourbon virus behaves or how it got here or where it will show up next. But they have learned enough to know they haven’t seen the last of it.

What they fear most is that the virus could be silently spreading through human populations, getting noticed only when it causes severe symptoms in an unlucky few. That’s what’s started to happen with another new tick-borne virus in Missouri. 

The species they found carrying the virus was the Lone Star tick, whose bite is more notorious for making people allergic to red meat. It’s also been shown to replicate inside tick cell lines in the lab.

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But the CDC has yet to formally declare Bourbon virus a tick-borne disease. To definitively link Bourbon virus with its suspected vector, the agency needs more data—specifically on how well Lone Star ticks acquire, maintain, and transmit the pathogen in a lab. Aaron Brault, a microbiologist with CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, says those studies are currently in progress. He says it’s now a “strong probability rather than simply a possibility” that the virus is transmitted to humans through ticks.

Read full, original post: The meat-allergy tick also carries a mystery killer virus

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