TIME Infectious Disease

Heartland Virus Claims Second U.S. Fatality

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Female lone star tick Getty Images/Kallista Images

Health officials say the Oklahoma case was the tenth known of the tick-borne virus and the second that proved to be fatal

An Oklahoma man has died after contracting the Heartland virus, marking the 10th known case and second known death from the tick-borne illness.

The Oklahoma Health Department confirmed the death of a Delaware County resident aged 65, due to complications from the virus. The virus is likely spread through bites from infected Lone Star ticks, health officials said, and symptoms can range from fever to muscle aches to bruising easily.

There is no routine test to diagnose the virus and no known vaccines to prevent it from spreading. Health officials say the only precaution outdoor lovers can take against the virus is by reducing their exposure to tick and mosquito bites.

The first known death from the virus was in Missouri in 2009.

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