JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida teenager has a rare case of the Keystone virus in humans.
Researchers now believe the mosquito-borne virus could be widespread in North Florida.
The teen’s skin was covered in a rash when he went to a North Central Florida urgent care clinic in August 2016.
It was the height of the Zika virus epidemic, but the feverish teen’s blood tested negative for that virus.
Days ago, University of Florida researchers announced they identified Keystone virus in his blood.
The Keystone virus, discovered in 1964 in the Tampa Bay area, was previously only found in animals. It's been discovered in a Florida teen, and reportedly could cause brain infections https://t.co/zzVE1eoFpF pic.twitter.com/g5HdXFN96J— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 22, 2018
It’s news that has Jacksonville father David Mizzel thinking twice.
Mizzel said his 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized last week after getting bitten by mosquitos.
“Weird, because she actually got three bites on her maybe two-three days ago and she had a fever. We took her to the hospital. She had a 103 fever. But they couldn’t figure out what it was,” said Mizzel.
Action News Jax brought David Mizzel’s concerns to the UF researcher whose lab identified the virus in the teen’s blood, Dr. John Lednicky.
Lednicky said it’s not likely the doctors tested Mizzel’s daughter for the Keystone virus.
“Not at all. My lab is probably the only laboratory to have done that,” said Lednicky.
Action News Jax asked Lednicky how dangerous the virus could be for a human.
“We have really no idea,” said Lednicky.
Mizzel said he now plans to ask for his daughter to be tested for the Keystone virus.
The symptoms of Keystone virus could include rash, mild fever and brain inflammation, USAToday reported. There is no specific treatment for the Keystone virus in humans, which is spread by the aedes atlanticus mosquito, aedes infirmatus and other aedes and culex species of mosquitoes.
There is also no way to prevent the Keystone virus other than to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
While the teen’s is a rare human case documented, it may not be that odd for a human to contract the virus since doctors don’t test for it normally.
Lednicky said, “It’s one of these instances where if you don’t know to look for something, you don’t find it.”
A report from the Florida Department of Health says that there was one other case of a child contracting the Keystone virus illness in 1964.
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