Have Researchers Found a Potential Cure for the Bourbon Virus?
Most people know that ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans. But not too many people have heard yet about Bourbon Virus. Bourbon virus is an RNA virus in the genus Thogotovirus of the family Orthomyxoviridae.
It was first identified in 2014, after a farmer from Bourbon County, Kansas, in the United States, got sick after finding a tick attached to his shoulder and died 11 days after symptoms started. The patient’s other symptoms were fever, headache, decreased appetite, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, malaise, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a maculopapular rash on the abdomen, chest and back. Later he experienced shortness of breath, which developed into acute respiratory distress syndrome. He died from multiple organ failure.
There had been eight reports of Bourbon virus in up to 2014, associated with a thogotovirus globally, and the man who died was the first in the Western hemisphere.
In 2015, there was another case reported in Stillwater, Oklahoma. This patient fully recovered. Then in 2017, a 58-year-old female Missouri State Park employee died from an infection of the Bourbon virus after it had been misdiagnosed for a significant period of time.
Researchers believe that this virus is passed through ticks, but it may be possible to be passed through mosquitoes also.
Up until now, there had been no course of treatment for Bourbon Virus. But, now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified an experimental antiviral drug that cures mice infected with the potentially lethal virus.
The drug, favipiravir, is approved in Japan but not the U.S as or yet,. for treatment of influenza, a related virus.
“Without the flu drug, 100 percent of the infected mice died, and with the treatment, 100 percent survived,” said Jacco Boon, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicine.” The findings are published June 13 in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
Sources for this article:
- Bourbon Virus on wiki
- Deadly tick-borne virus cured with experimental flu drug, in mice
- Therapeutic efficacy of favipiravir against Bourbon virus in mice