Meet The World’s Latest Terrifying Micro-Organism: The Bourbon Virus

Senior Contributor
02.23.15 9 Comments

Hey, want a new micro-organism to be terrified of? Tough, we’ve got one for you anyway. It’s called the Bourbon virus, and sadly, it has nothing to do with delicious amber liquids and everything to do with dying.

The good news is that, so far, there’s been precisely one case of the Bourbon virus, an older man in Kansas who first reported symptoms in spring 2014. The bad news is, pretty much, everything else. We’re not sure of its exact transmission route, although it’s likely tick bites. Also, like any horrible disease, the symptoms are not great:

…fever, tiredness, rash, headache, other body aches, nausea, and vomiting. The person also had low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding.

Oh, it’s also the first thogotovirus identified in the Western Hemisphere. That particular family of nasties includes the Dhori virus, which is fatal to mice and causes similar damage to influenza, so it turning up in the Western Hemisphere is not good news.

That said, preventing transmission is pretty simple: Wear insect repellent and long sleeves and pants when dealing with situations where ticks might be present, do a tick check, and don’t go into bushy or wooded areas unless you have to. And really, considering all the horrific diseases ticks carry in the first place, you should be doing this already.

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