The Indiana State Department of Health says there have been two confirmed cases of Heartland virus infection in the state within the past two years.
The ISDH says in a statement the Heartland virus is thought to be transmitted by ticks. Common symptoms include fever and flu-like symptoms and the infection often requires hospitalization.
The statement says the unnamed patients were residents of southern Indiana and both survived the infection.
“Tick bites can cause serious illness and even death, and the discovery of Heartland virus gives Hoosiers another important reason to take precautions,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams in a statement. “If you become ill after spending time outdoors, visit your health care provider immediately — especially if you found an attached tick. Prompt diagnosis of tick-borne illness helps prevent complications.”
The health department says there were more than 200 cases of tick-borne illness in Indiana in 2016, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Last month, a 2-year-old girl from central Indiana died after being bitten by a tick during a camping trip. She had been infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
In Indiana, there were about 100 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2014, compared to 26 cases eight years earlier.
Health professionals recommend taking precautions against ticks like using repellent, wearing long sleeves and doing tick checks.
According to the ISDH, only a few other cases of Heartland virus have been confirmed nationwide, with others reported in Missouri, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas.