Bourbon virus is a rare and emerging disease. It was first identified in Bourbon County, Kansas in 2014. There is no vaccine to prevent and no treatment to cure this disease, so preventing tick bites is essential. Use repellent that contains an EPA-registered active ingredient.

Lone Star Tick
Lone Star Tick

Ticks that carry it

Both nymphal and adult stages of the Lone Star tick carry this disease. It is not known if other species also transmit this virus. Lone star ticks are aggressive people-biters. Human cases tend to occur in May and June, suggesting that bites from adult stages of the Lone Star tick are responsible.

Who is most at risk?

People who work outside or are outdoor enthusiasts are at risk.


Bourbon virus disease symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea, and vomiting

Those infected also had low blood counts for cells that fight infection and help prevent bleeding. Some of those infected with Bourbon virus have died during their acute illness.

Where Bourbon virus has been found?

As of June 2018, a limited number of Bourbon virus disease cases have been identified in the Midwest and southern U.S. It has now been recognized in several states including Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. It has been found in deer in North Carolina. Human cases in North Carolina have not yet been identified.