HNewsWire-Lone star ticks harboring a virus that might be lethal to humans have been detected in Georgia, according to a new research published Wednesday.
According to the Centers for Illness Control and Prevention, the Heartland virus is an emerging infectious disease that may produce symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, lethargy, muscle or joint pain, headache, nausea, and lack of appetite (CDC).
Many people who have been identified with the Heartland virus have had to be hospitalized as a result of their symptoms, and others have died as a result of underlying health problems.
There are presently no vaccinations or drugs that act to prevent or cure viral infection, and antibiotics are ineffective.
Emory University researchers studying the Heartland virus found it is circulating among lone star ticks in central Georgia, offering fresh evidence for how the tick-borne virus may adapt and travel regionally and from one creature to another.
Lone star ticks, also known as Amblyomma americanum, are the most prevalent tick in Texas and are usually found in densely forested forests.
A female lone tick has a silvery-white, star-shaped mark in the middle of its back, which gives them their name.
Emory University researchers examined over 10,000 juvenile and adult lone star ticks throughout the state between 2018 and 2019 and discovered the virus was widespread in the population.
The ticks were collected from Putnam and Jones counties in Georgia and split into groups of five adults or 25 nymphs, then crushed and put in a solution to see whether they carried the virus.
Their results show that around one in every 2,000 specimens obtained from the locations harbored the Heartland virus, confirming current transmission throughout the state.
One adult and one nymph sample, both obtained on the same day, tested positive at a hunting site in Putnam County. Another adult tick sample obtained on a later day from a stretch of woods near a roadway in Jones County tested positive as well.
The findings were reported in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
"Heartland is an emerging infectious illness that is little known," said Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, a specialist in vector-borne diseases, an associate professor in Emory's Department of Environmental Sciences, and the study's senior author.
"We're attempting to stay ahead of this virus by learning all we can about it before it becomes a larger issue."
lady applying tick repellent before going on a walk
Lyme disease, like any other illness, is best avoided than treated. These practices may help you reduce your tick exposure. (encierro/Shutterstock)
The genomes of the viral samples were found to be comparable to one another but highly distinct from the genomes of Heartland virus samples from outside of Georgia.
"These findings imply that the virus may be developing extremely fast in various geographic regions, or that it may be circulating largely in isolated places and not diffusing swiftly across those areas," Vazquez-Prokopec said.
Scientists want to collect ticks from around Georgia and perform more testing to better understand the elements that may increase the risk of Heartland virus transmission.
"We aim to start filling up the massive gaps in understanding of the Heartland virus transmission cycle," Vazquez-Prokopec stated. "We need to better understand the main players who transmit the virus as well as any environmental conditions that may help it survive in diverse ecosystems."
The Heartland virus was found in 2009 in two individuals in northwest Missouri who were both hospitalized with high fevers, diarrhea, muscular cramps, low counts of white blood cells and platelets, and other tick-borne illness symptoms.
According to the CDC, more than 50 cases of the virus-caused disease had been reported as of January 2021 across the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, with the majority of those diagnosed falling ill between May and September.
Researchers observed that there has only been one confirmed human infection with Heartland virus in a Baldwin County, Georgia resident who died in 2015 of an unclear disease but was subsequently recognized as the infection after a retroactive examination.
While little is known about the Heartland virus, infection rates remain low, according to Vazquez-Prokopec, and researchers do not want to cause alarm but rather promote awareness of the illness.
"There's no cause to be concerned," he told Newsweek. "The study's purpose was to characterize a new infectious illness about which we know very little." The essential thing for folks in Georgia and wherever else where the lone star tick dwells is that spring has arrived. Ticks are quite busy, and we have shown that there is a possibility of ticks biting humans and transmitting Heartland. The most common tick that attacks individuals in the South is the lone star tick. As people go out for fun, we need to educate them about the necessity of avoiding tick bites."
Doctors and scientists are sounding the alarm that flesh-eating bacteria is spreading, which is a sign of how the earth and its waters are changing pointing to that foretold in the prophecies…
The word translated “pestilence” is often translated as “plague” or “disaster” in new versions of the English Bible. However, because the word is often paired with both of those, it may imply greater devastation than a mere physical disease. Pestilence incorporates any and all forms of public and mass destruction and often accompanies famine (Ezekiel 7:15) or war (Jeremiah 21:9). Jesus forewarned of pestilence when He described the end times (Luke 21:11).
Flesh-eating bacteria is continuing to infect people at an alarming rate with many surprised that it happened to them.
And these events are signs of the Last Days revealing its time to prepare for the nearing appearance of Jesus Christ to catch away His Church by being born again spiritually into the Kingdom of God as Jesus said we must (John 3) and His Apostles who were authorized (Matthew 16:19) described how (Acts 2). This new birth experience brings peace and joy in the Holy Spirit now in this life, and eternal life in the world to come.
SRH: These are signs pointing to the prophecies (Matthew 24, Revelation 6) how that pestilence will come where the prophecies also foretell (Revelation 8, Revelation 16) how that the earth will change becoming more toxic with deathly results spreading among humankind.
These are signs of the Last Days revealing its time to prepare for the nearing appearance of Jesus Christ by being born again spiritually into the Kingdom of God as Jesus said we must (John 3) and His Apostles who were authorized (Matthew 16:19) described how (Acts 2). This new birth experience brings peace and joy in the Holy Spirit now in this life, and eternal life in the world to come. Source
Jesus specifically warned us that there would be “pestilences” in the end times, and so if we really are approaching the time of His return this is one of the things that we should be watching for. Of course, we don’t know if COVID-19 is one of the “pestilences” that Jesus was referring to, but in recent days it has greatly distressed me to see so many Christians attempting to downplay the severity of this virus. The number of confirmed cases and the global death toll have both been rising at an exponential rate day after day, and experts are warning that over half of the population of the world could eventually get this virus, but so many voices out there are boldly assuring people that they don’t have anything to be concerned about even though they don’t have any medical credentials at all. Personally, I think that it pays to listen to the experts during a crisis like this, and the experts are telling us that millions could soon die. In fact, as you will see below, a doctor that sat on the White House Homeland Security Council is saying that this is the most “frightening disease” that he has ever encountered. After everything that we have already learned about this virus, anyone that is not taking this pandemic seriously is not being wise.
But is this just another pandemic that will come and go, or is this one of the “pestilences” that we were warned about almost 2000 years ago?
In Luke chapter 21, Jesus explained to His disciples what conditions would be like just prior to His return, and in verse 11 He specifically warned that there would be “pestilences”. The following comes from the King James Version…
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