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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

The Bourbon Virus: What You Need to Know

Monday, June 1 2015

The Bourbon Virus: What You Need to Know

The Bourbon virus is named after Bourbon County Kansas where it was first identified in a human in the United States in 2014. A second case was recently confirmed in a person from Payne County in May 2015. With only two known cases in the U.S., this is considered a rare virus.

The Bourbon virus is suspected of being transmitted by an infected tick or possibly an infected insect (e.g., mosquito). It has not yet been determined if the Bourbon virus infects domestic or wild animals. Nonetheless, veterinarians are advising owners to remain vigilant and use continual, year-round tick prevention for domestic animals.

It is recommended that owners use approved acaricides (pesticides designed to kill ticks) as pets can carry ticks indoors and harbor other infectious agents that are potentially zoonotic. Also, check pets often for ticks and immediately remove any attached ticks.

“Veterinarians from across the country are reporting an increase in the number of ticks they are seeing,” explained Mason Reichard, PhD, veterinary parasitologist in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the veterinary center and co-director of the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology. “More ticks and a prolonged period of tick activity can be expected here in Oklahoma because of the mild winter and unusually wet spring and early summer.”

Pet owners should take precautions to protect themselves as well as their pets from tick bites. For more information on the Bourbon virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control at

Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 |