U.S. health officials are investigating a newly discovered virus linked to the death of a Kansas man who became sick after he was bitten by a tick in April.
The so-called Bourbon virus -- named after the county where the man became infected -- is part of a group of viruses called thogotoviruses.
Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered the virus while they were investigating another rare, tick-borne virus, Heartland virus. The researchers noticed the sample from the deceased Kansas man looked different from the other Heartland virus samples and after sequencing its genome determined the Bourbon virus was something never before seen.
As of this month, the Kansas man is the only known person to contract the virus, and researchers in Kansas and with the CDC believe he may have become sick through the tick bite.
"It is not known if Bourbon virus was the cause of death or how much it contributed to the resident's death," a release from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said.
An otherwise healthy man in Kansas became infected with a newly discovered type of virus after he was bitten by ticks, and he died of a related illness 11 days later, U.S. health officials reported Friday.
The virus -- dubbed "Bourbon virus" after the name of the Kansas county where the man lived -- has never been spotted in the United States before, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency noted that more cases may have occurred but gone unidentified.
The CDC said it's now collaborating with researchers in Kansas "to identify additional cases of Bourbon virus disease, determine who gets sick and with what symptoms, and how people are getting infected."
According to a report led by CDC investigator Olga Kosoy, the unidentified man was under the age of 50 and previously healthy. He had been working on his property and was bitten by ticks several times in late spring 2014.