Archive for the ‘Viruses’ Category

Therapeutic Efficacy of Favipiravir Against Bourbon Virus in Mice

Published: June 13, 2019


Bourbon virus (BRBV) is an emerging tick-borne RNA virus in the orthomyxoviridae family that was discovered in 2014. Although fatal human cases of BRBV have been described, little is known about its pathogenesis, and no antiviral therapies or vaccines exist. We obtained serum from a fatal case in 2017 and successfully recovered the second human infectious isolate of BRBV. Next-generation sequencing of the St. Louis isolate of BRBV (BRBV-STL) showed >99% nucleotide identity to the original reference isolate. Using BRBV-STL, we developed a small animal model to study BRBV-STL tropism in vivo and evaluated the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of the experimental antiviral drug favipiravir against BRBV-induced disease. Infection of Ifnar1-/- mice lacking the type I interferon receptor, but not congenic wild-type animals, resulted in uniformly fatal disease 6 to 10 days after infection. RNA in situ hybridization and viral yield assays demonstrated a broad tropism of BRBV-STL with highest levels detected in liver and spleen. In vitro replication and polymerase activity of BRBV-STL were inhibited by favipiravir. Moreover, administration of favipiravir as a prophylaxis or as post-exposure therapy three days after infection prevented BRBV-STL-induced mortality in immunocompromised Ifnar1-/- mice. These results suggest that favipiravir may be a candidate treatment for humans who become infected with BRBV.


More on Bourbon Virus:



ArminLabs (EliSpot) With Dr. Schwarzbach – Podcast

Why You Should Listen

In this episode, you will learn about EliSpot testing and the various testing options available through ArminLabs in Germany.

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About My Guest

My guest for this episode is Dr. Armin Schwarzbach.  Armin Schwarzbach, MD, PhD is a medical doctor and a specialist in laboratory medicine from the laboratory ArminLabs in Augsburg, Germany.  Dr. Schwarzbach began by studying biochemistry at Hoechst AG in Frankfurt, Germany and pharmacy at the University of Mainz in Germany in 1984. In 1985 he studied medicine for 6 years at the University of Mainz and finished his MD in 1991.  Dr. Schwarzbach developed the worldwide first Radioimmunoassay (RIA) for human Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide from 1986 – 1991, getting his PhD in 1992.  He is member of the Swiss Association for tick-borne diseases, the German Association of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, and the German Society for Medical Laboratory Specialists.  He is an Advisory Board member of AONM London, England, and Board member of German Borreliosis Society, and Member and former Board Member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) and has served as an expert on advisory committees on Lyme Disease in England, Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, and Germany.  Dr. Schwarzbach is the founder and CEO of ArminLabs in Augsburg, Germany and has specialized in diagnostic tests and treatment options for patients with tick-borne diseases for over 20 years.

Key Takeaways

  • What is an EliSpot?
  • What organisms can be tested for using EliSpot technology?
  • How specific is the EliSpot in testing for Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, and other organisms?
  • Does the state of the immune system matter when considering EliSpot results?
  • Which infections are the most persistent?
  • Can the EliSpot be used to track progress or success of treatment?
  • What is Yersinia and where might it be encountered?
  • Can EliSpot testing be used in newborns and infants?
  • What role do viruses such as EBV, CMV, Coxsackie, and others play in chronic illness?
  • Can Mast Cell Activation Syndrome be triggered by viruses?
  • Why are Mycoplasma and Chlamydia so important to explore?
  • Why is IgA testing a promising new direction in laboratory medicine?
  • Is CD57 helpful clinically?
  • What microbes are more commonly associated with specific medical conditions?
  • How common are Rickettsial organisms?
  • What is “Post Lyme Syndrome”? Is it real?

Connect With My Guest


The content of this show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or medical condition. Nothing in today’s discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health-related decisions with your own personal medical authority.

Death of Hampton Man With Rare Tick-borne Virus Probed

Please read comment below article….Powassan is not rare.

Death of Hampton man with rare tick-borne virus probed

Submitted photo – Armand Desormeaux, of Hampton, right, is seen with his daughter, Dianne Rude, in a June 2018 photo. Desormeaux had tested positive for the rare tick-borne Powassan virus. He died May 16, and the cause of death has yet to be determined.


By New Jersey Herald

Posted: Jun. 9, 2019
An investigation by the Sussex County Division of Health is underway after two cases of the rare tick-borne Powassan virus were confirmed in Sussex County this week.

One of those persons who tested positive for the virus died in May, according to officials, but the immediate cause of death has yet to be determined.

Should it be confirmed that the cause of death was the virus, it would be the first death in Sussex County and only the second confirmed fatality due to the virus in the state, according to Donna Leusner, spokesperson for the state Department of Health. It would also be only the 10th confirmed death in the United States since 2008, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The second individual confirmed to have Powassan in Sussex County is recovering at home, Leusner said.

While officials declined to disclose the names, ages or hometowns of the patients due to privacy concerns, on Friday, Dianne (Desormeaux) Rude told the New Jersey Herald she received confirmation on Monday that her father, Armand Desormeaux, 80, of Hampton, was one of those confirmed Powassan cases in Sussex County. Desormeaux passed away on May 16 at Newton Medical Center.

Rude said her father’s infectious disease doctor confirmed the diagnosis on Monday following testing done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Rude, her father, while he suffered with several medical issues over the years, was quite active up until May 6, when he began running a high fever.

Rude, who lives next door to her father on Halsey Road, took Desormeaux to the hospital, where he was checked out and released, she said. Within 12 hours, Rude said, her father’s health quickly deteriorated and he was taken by ambulance back to Newton Medical Center.

“He was having seizures, shaking uncontrollably,” Rude said.

Suspecting possible Lyme disease, Rude said her father remembered being bit by a tick around April 15 while he was gardening, but had removed it himself and didn’t think much of it because it didn’t form a rash.

Rude said her father was suffering with tremors, violently shaking, unable to verbalize and started losing the ability to move his limbs. While her father had previously been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a progressive lung disease, Rude said his symptoms made sense when she received the call Monday that he had the tick-borne disease.

The Powassan virus, named after the Ontario community where it was first discovered in 1958, is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged, or deer, tick, which caries Lyme disease, or the woodchuck tick, according to a press release sent to the New Jersey Herald from the Sussex County Department of Health.

While some people do not develop any symptoms, others may develop symptoms one week to one month after being bitten. Symptoms include fever; headache; swelling of the brain, also called encephalitis; swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, also known as meningitis; vomiting; weakness; seizures; fever with stiff neck; limb weakness; confusion; loss of coordination; trouble speaking; and memory loss, according to the county health department.

Those with other medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing complications from the virus. Several clinical reports indicate the virus is fatal in about 10% to 15% of cases. For the survivors, about half will suffer with permanent neurological symptoms, such as paralysis, cognitive difficulties and muscle wasting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

Rude, who posted about her father’s diagnosis on Facebook initially to friends only, said she didn’t expect to get much attention from it. But after her friends shared her post on public forums, Rude said she is glad to be “opening up a world of conversation” about a tick-borne illness that isn’t Lyme disease, which is the most commonly known.

While she continues to mourn the loss of her father, a U.S. Marine who worked as a custodian at Frankford Elementary School until his retirement in 2007, Rude believes that telling others of her father’s diagnosis could prevent others from being infected.

“Spray your yards, Frontline your animals and check yourself for ticks,” she said.

Frontline is a flea and tick protection product.

The Powassan virus is so uncommon that just one other person — a 51-year-old Warren County woman in 2013 — has died from the virus in New Jersey. Since 2013, there have only been 10 confirmed cases in the state, including the two confirmed this week in Sussex County, according to Leusner.

Nationally, there have been about 75 cases of Powassan virus reported in the past 10 years, most of the cases in the northern woodlands of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New York.

There is no medicine or vaccine to cure or treat the virus, but there are several ways to reduce the risk of getting the virus.

When headed outdoors, avoid contact with ticks by steering clear of wooded areas with tall grass, stick to hiking in the center of a trail and apply insect repellent to clothes and gear with permethrin, a substance that incapacitates ticks and prevents them from biting. Wear long-sleeved shirts and light-colored clothes to be able to see ticks, and tuck long pants into socks. Check the body for ticks, and if one is found, remove it immediately.

It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms develop.

For more information about Powassan, visit the state Department of Health website at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: or by phone: 973-383-1194.



Powassan is NOT rare.  Please read the following excerpt by Coppe Lab here in Wisconsin,

For the last two years, Coppe Laboratories has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to dispelling the myth that infection with Powassan virus, a virus transmitted by tick bite, is rare. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports only 100 cases of Powassan virus infection in the United States in the last 10 years. Indeed, that statistic gives the illusion that Powassan infection is rare. However, did you know that the only infections reported to CDC are those that are life-threatening, particularly cases causing severe inflammation of the brain like the case reported in LiveScience? Coppe has published three new papers in the last year that clearly show Powassan virus infection is not rare are at all, and until testing for this virus is included as part of tick-borne disease screening panels infections will continue to be underreported. Coppe’s Powassan Guide, which can be downloaded from the website, summarizes the findings from both tick and human Powassan prevalence studies, as well as defining the patient populations that would benefit most from Powassan testing.

Coppe Laboratories offers the first commercial panel designed to detect exposure to Powassan virus throughout all stages of infection.

Powassan can be transmitted in 15 minutes, so all the comforting words by the CDC on the emphasis that transmission of Lyme takes anywhere from 24-72 hours falls flat regarding Powassan. Also, to my knowledge, no work has been done on transmission time when multiple pathogens are being transmitted concurrently, or what happens when a person perhaps gets bitten, obtains Powassan but doesn’t have symptoms, and then in the future gets another tick bite and perhaps gets Lyme with that one. Does that second bite activate a latent virus infection with Powassan?

These questions have never been broached by the CDC.

The news article states, the virus can be worse in those with “other medical conditions.”  

Nobody really has a clue what a concurrent infection with Powassan looks like, but I would label that another medical condition. What if someone has Powassan and Lyme?  Or, in my case, what if you have Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, and then Powassan on top of that?

This is the fly in the ointment that current research is NOT addressing.

In this article Coppe Lab, right here in Wisconsin has uncovered some interesting findings:  A study completed in May, 2016 of 106 patients with suspected acute tick borne disease showed 10.4 % had Powassan.  Nearly 17% of the patients with positive Lyme results also tested positive for POWV exposure. The authors concluded,

“Infection with POWV may be underdiagnosed and may contribute to the persistent symptoms often associated with Lyme disease diagnosis.”16

They postulate:

In both studies, the percentage of Lyme patients co-infected with POWV was about 17%, coinciding with the 10 – 20% of patients treated for Lyme that develop lingering symptoms attributed to post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

One thing’s for sure.  The CDC is not getting the memo because every single article I read on Powassan calls it “rare.”  

Question to ponder:  How many have to die before something is no longer rare?


Another Tick-Borne Disease To Worry About – Alongshan virus (ALSV)

Another Tick-Borne Disease To Worry About

June 1, 20197:00 AM ET

This photo depicts two Haemaphysalis longicornis ticks, commonly known as the longhorned tick. It has been linked to the spread of a hemorrhagic fever in China. The smaller of the two ticks on the left is a nymph. The larger tick is an adult female.

Science Source

When a tick bores into your skin, anchoring itself for what can be a leisurely meal while often spreading germs, it isn’t just Lyme disease that you have to worry about.

Various kinds of ticks have been shown to carry at least 16 diseases in the U.S alone that can infect humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now add one more to the global list of ills that a tick bite can bring about, according to a study in the May 30 New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, identifying a new tick-borne disease, shows that we still don’t know how many more diseases ticks can carry. “We continue to discover new viruses,” says Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory and co-director of the Vector-Borne Disease Lab Services at Mayo Clinic. She was not involved in the study.

The newly discovered disease was found in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China. In April 2017, a 42-year-old female farmer from the Mongolian town Alongshan went to a county hospital complaining of fever and headache. She had a history of tick bites. In searching for the cause of the patient’s fever, researchers ruled out the usual tick-borne diseases found in the area. Using genome sequencing, a process of determining the makeup of an organism’s DNA, they isolated a new disease-causing agent, which they called Alongshan virus, or ALSV, after the patient’s hometown.

Further testing found 86 additional patients in the same Inner Mongolia region who were infected with ALSV. “Neither permanent clinical complications nor death occurred among patients with confirmed infection,” wrote the authors, from various universities and laboratories in China, in the journal article.

The patients in the study had symptoms of headache and fever coming an average of three to seven days after a tick bite, according to an email response to questions from Quan Liu, an author of the study from the School of Life Sciences and Engineering at Foshan University in Foshan, China. They were treated with ribavirin, an antiviral, and benzylpenicillin sodium, an antibiotic, for three to five days, he wrote.

“The symptoms usually resolved after six to eight days of treatment, and all patients had complete recovery.”

Diseases from a variety of ticks are seen around the world, but there are regional differences depending on the virus or bacteria carried by the ticks in the area. So far, ASLV has been found only in Inner Mongolia, in Ixodes persulcatus ticks, according to the study. It has also been found in mosquitoes in the same area, so researchers can’t be certain whether the patients got sick from a tick bite or a mosquito bite.

Like the victims of ASLV, most patients recover from the diseases caused by tick bites — although some tick-borne diseases can result in enduring joint pain, impaired muscle movements and fatigue.

Finding a new disease can only reinforce the need for people to take precautions to avoid tick bites.

In the U.S., where more than 59,000 cases of tick-borne diseases were reported in 2017, tick season is just beginning.

“Once the snow melts, the ticks come out. Stay away from tall grasses and forested areas,” says Pritt. “If you go into those areas, wear protective clothing and use an insect repellent with DEET.”

The CDC also suggests treating clothing and camping gear with the repellent permethrin, walking in the center of paths to avoid brushing against plants and leaves, and bathing and checking your body for ticks after an outdoor excursion.

And if you do come down with a fever that isn’t easily explained or diagnosed, make sure you tell your physician about any travel or recent outdoor experiences, says Pritt.

“The overarching theme is the more we look at ticks, the more we find,” says Wendy Adams, research grant director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, who was not involved in the study. “We find parasites, viruses, bacteria. We just found worms in ticks in New York.”

It means that when humans are bitten by ticks, there are many diseases and infections they can contract — even a disease carried by a parasite within a tick.

Susan Brink is a freelance writer who covers health and medicine. She is the author of The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months, and co-author of A Change of Heart.

CorrectionJune 1, 2019

A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the Centers for Disease Control and Infection.



OK, another virus discovered in ticks…..and in none other than the Asian Longhorned tick that’s galavanting it’s way across the U.S.:  According to this recent article, it’s in 11 states so far and shows no signs of slowing down.

To date this tick which causes significant havoc in Asia, has not transmitted any diseases in the U.S. yet, but the concern is palpable due to its ability to clone itself and replicate quickly.  It also lines up on a stalk of grass like a cluster bomb waiting to be touched by something to detonate.  When you study this tick for 5 min. it becomes clear why this particular tick infestation can drain cattle of their blood.


Notice the article states that ticks are full of all manner of things: bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yes, even worms – which is not a new thing, BTW.  Willy Burgdorfer found worms in ticks decades ago. Here we see filarial nematodes (worms) in N.Y. ticks:

Worms have been found to harbor spirochetes. This is a big deal because it will take anthelmintics to kill the worms to be able to get to the spirochetes (Lyme). Some patients only get better after anti-worm treatment:  If you’ve reached a plateau, discuss this with your practitioner as a consideration.

According to microbiologist Tom Grier, great care needs to be taken with anti-wormers because the die off can create severe, perhaps deadly herxes:

With the high rates of dementia, Alzheimer’s, ALS, etc., we should be considering tick borne illness with these patients as we’ve learned that many can regain their mental faculties with appropriate treatment:  See comment section.

Czechs Record Most Tick-borne Encephalitis Cases in Entire EU



The Czech Republic recorded the highest number of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases in the EU last year. In the whole of Europe, only Russia recorded more cases of the potentially deadly disease.

There were 712 recorded TBE cases in the country last year, the highest number since 2011, a Czech member of the International Scientific Working Group on TBE (ISW-TBE) said in a press release on Thursday.

Only about one quarter of inhabitants of the Czech Republic are vaccinated against TBE, a low percentage compared to other EU countries. Within the bloc, the second-highest number of TBE cases was recorded in Germany, which has a population eight times larger.

Encephalitis patients suffer from fever, headache, aching joints and muscles. It can develop into meningitis.


For more:

In the USA and Russia, another tick-borne flavivirus, Powassan virus, is responsible of encephalitis in humans.

More on Powassan (which can be transmitted within 15 min.):


Going Outside? Watch Out For Asian Longhorned Tick Now in Kentucky–510400381.html  News Story in Link

Going outside? Watch out for unusual tick found in Eastern Kentucky

By WYMT News Staff

MARTIN COUNTY, KY. (WAVE) – It’s Memorial Day weekend and more people will head outside as the summer season kicks off. While you’re out having fun, be sure to keep an eye out for a tick that is new to the area.

This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has received more calls about seeing ticks, but reports that incidents of tick-borne diseases in the state are very low.

People still need to use precautions because ticks are out there. They’re looking to suck blood three times in their lives in order to reproduce. This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

“The most common ticks we have are the Lone Star Ticks and the American Dog Tick,” Spencer County Agriculture agent Bryce Roberts said. “The new one we found is the Asian Longhorned Tick.”

Roberts said the Asian Longhorned Tick was found in Eastern Kentucky, in Martin County.

It’s very concerning because of the diseases they do carry,” Roberts said.

New ticks bring new diseases. Before or when someone gets a tick disease, they see epidemiologist Dr. Paul Schulz.

“The two we encounter the most are Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Schulz said.

Schulz said the infectious disease department at Norton Healthcare found its first tick-borne disease of the year in March, a sign that tick season could be starting early.

“(In) well over 50 percent of diagnosed infections, the patient didn’t know they had tick exposure,” Schulz said.

People often don’t see or feel when a tick is biting them. However, there are ways to protect yourself and your summer experience: Cover up as much of your skin as you can, use a spray with DEET, avoid overgrown wooded areas, check yourself and your children every night.


For more: this tick exists, it is an important vector of human and animal disease agents. In China and Japan, it transmits the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), which causes a human hemorrhagic fever (2), and Rickettsia japonica, which causes Japanese spotted fever (3). Studies in Asia identified ticks infected with various species of Anaplasma, Babesia, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, and Rickettsia, and all of these pathogen groups circulate zoonotically in the United States (4,5). In addition, parthenogenetic reproduction, a biologic characteristic of this species, allows a single introduced female tick to generate progeny without mating, thus resulting in massive host infestations.


Authorities have been relatively mum on what this tick transmits and I’ve had to dig to find it.  So far there are no noted human illnesses caused by this tick in the U.S., but the ones listed above have occurred other countries.  Do they really think this tick isn’t going to acquire disease and transmit here?  Maybe in an alternative reality, but then again, the CDC lives in an alternative reality.






Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Outbreak in Africa

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) outbreak declared in Namibia

May 21, 2019
By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Ministry of Health and Social Services of Namibia officially declared an outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) on May 6 after reporting a number of cases from different regions of the country.

Image/ Alvaro1984 18

As of 15 May 2019, seven suspected cases of CCHF were reported from five regions, including one laboratory confirmed case out of seven samples tested and one death (case fatality ratio 14%).

The Ministry of Health and Social Services detail the cases/locations in the following press statement.

The World Health Organization says CCHF outbreaks have been recurrent in Namibia in the past
two years, with cases reported from Omaheke, Omusati and Kharas regions. The last recorded outbreak occurred in March 2018 in Kharas region, where one fatal confirmed case was reported.

The current outbreak arises in the context of a national drought emergency that can intensify the risk of transmission and geographical spread of the disease, with livestock movements from arid to less dry areas, if mitigating measures are not implemented in a timely manner.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family. The CCHF virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10–40%.

Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites. Although a number of tick genera are capable of becoming infected with CCHF virus, ticks of the genus Hyalomma are the principal vector.

The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians. Human-to-human transmission is possible.


For more:

CCHF is transmitted by ticks, though it can also be spread human-to-human.

CCHF is often treated with Ribavirin:

Ribavirin is reported to be effective for treating Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) infections and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, but it is still inadequate to judge the effect of ribavirin on SFTS patients because of the study limitation without adequate parameters were investigated [45]. Host immune responses play an important role in determining the severity and clinical outcome in patients with infection by SFTSV.

The ticks, known as Hyalomma marginatum have the potential to spread the viral disease Crimean-Congo fever (CCHF).

Symptoms of CCHF include fever, muscle pains, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, and bleeding into the skin. A QUARTER of those contracting Crimean-Congo fever will die.  Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) can be transmitted to humans through infected ticks, animal blood, and infected human blood and/or bodily fluids (so human to human).   CCHF has also been spread in hospitals due to improper sterilization.  Fatality rate in hospitalized patients has ranged from 9-50%.  Being a virus, care is supportive; however, it is sensitive in vitro to ribavirin, an anti-viral drug.  Recovery is slow.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of symptoms
  • headache
  • high fever
  • back pain
  • joint pain
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • red eyes
  • flushed face
  • red throat & petechiae (red spots on palate are common)
  • jaundice
  • mood changes
  • sensory perception
  • severe bruising
  • sever nosebleeds
  • uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites