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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Two Hoosiers test positive for rare Heartland virus transmitted by tick bite

Two Hoosiers have now tested positive for the rare Heartland virus within the last two years.

CLARK COUNTY, IN (WAVE-TV) - A new virus transmitted by ticks is making its way through the Hoosier state.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed two southern Indiana residents have tested positive for Heartland virus; one in 2015 and one this year.

“Heartland virus was first described in 2012 and there's only been a few cases since then, so scientists are still learning about it,” Taryn Stevens with the Indiana State Department of Health, said.

State health officials say both Indiana residents survived their infections. There have only been a few cases detected nationwide and one person has died. If you find a tick on your body, use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible and pull up slowly.

“You'll want to get rid of a tick by dunking it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet or wrapping it up in tape,” Stevens said.

Only a few cases of the Heartland virus have been detected across the nation, but most have required hospitalization. One person has died from the virus.

The most common signs are fever, flu-like symptoms. There is no treatment for Heartland, as antibiotics do not treat viruses.

Officials say the best plan is to try and avoid ticks altogether, by using insect repellant and/or wearing sleeves and long pants.