The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Friday they have discovered a new virus that killed an otherwise healthy man last year in the United States.
CDC officials said the man in eastern Kansas died in late spring 2014 from the previously unknown Bourbon virus.
The agency published the announcement in its Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.
The virus, named for the county in which the man lived, is part of a group of viruses called Thogotovirus.
This is the first time such a virus has caused human illness in the United States. It’s only the eighth time a Thogotovirus has caused symptoms in a person worldwide.
Viruses in this group have been linked to ticks and mosquitoes in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
CDC officials reported the Kansas man had tick bites. After becoming ill, he was given medication for tick-borne illnesses.
When his condition didn’t improve, his blood samples were sent to the CDC. The agency determined the man was infected with an unknown virus. CDC officials eventually linked it to the Thogotovirus group and named it the Bourbon virus.
In the meantime, the man quickly developed multiple organ failure and died 11 days after developing symptoms.
CDC officials said they’re working with Kansas health officials to determine if other people are infected with Bourbon virus. They are also researching to better understand the virus and how it is spread.
From there, CDC officials hope to find ways to prevent and treat Bourbon virus.