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Tick-bourne Heartland virus confirmed in Indiana

A rare virus has made its way to Indiana.

The Heartland virus is thought to be transmitted by ticks. It can make you very sick, and even cause death.

State officials say two Indiana patients have had it in the last two years. Both those patients did survive.

The virus was first discovered in Missouri in 2012, and since then only a few cases have been confirmed nationally.

Common symptoms are fever and other flu-like symptoms. Some people with the virus have also complained of head and muscle aches, loss of appetite and feeling sick to the stomach.

The virus causes a decrease in blood cells that are important for fighting infection.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says most patients need to be hospitalized. Most have fully recovered, but there has been one death.

Because this is a rare and somewhat new virus, scientists are still studying it.

Heartland virus has always been reported during the summer months. And health experts have predicted this summer to be one of the worst for ticks due to mild temperatures.

But there are a few ways you can reduce your chances of getting this virus or other tick-borne illnesses.

Because ticks are found in grassy and wooded areas, you should be cautious if you are going outdoors. The Indiana Department of Health advises to walk in the center of trails if you are in the woods.

After being outside you should always check your body for ticks.

Showering can remove unattached ticks from your body. Putting your clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat can kill ticks on clothing.

Tweezers can be used to remove ticks that have attached to the body.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says if you become ill after spending time outdoors, visit your health care provider immediately, especially if you found a tick.

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