You're probably sick and tired of hearing and talking about bugs in Illinois after nearly a year of being pelted around the clock with information about the upcoming (now gone) historic cicada emergence in Illinois.

Spoiler alert: Cicada-geddon totally lived up to the hype in some areas, while other areas remained cicada-free.

We still have cicadas making noise, but the ones you hear now are the annual, or "dog-day" cicadas that come out every year around this time and hang around throughout the end of summer.

Those bugs just make a lot of noise and a mess, but can't hurt you. The Lone Star Tick is a much different story. They can really mess you up.

Getty Images
"Deer Crossing" signs are far less creepy looking. (Getty Images)
loading...
Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) on human skin
Getty Images
loading...

Why Are They Here? With That Name, Shouldn't They Be Exclusive To Texas?

The simplest answer would be that at some point, the Lone Star Ticks grabbed a ride out of the Lone Star State. Maybe on a truck, maybe on a person, nobody seems to know for sure how they got here, only that they did. The intriguing fact is that Lone Star Ticks have been in Illinois since 1999.

ScienceDaily.com took a look at the Lone Star Tick's short history in Illinois, and found that these ticks weren't all that noteworthy when they were discovered. It's when some testing was done, and researchers discovered Lone Star Ticks can spread a pathogen called the Heartland Virus:

Researchers have confirmed that Heartland virus, an emerging pathogen with potentially dire consequences for those infected, is present in Lone Star ticks in two Illinois counties hundreds of miles apart. Lone Star ticks were first detected in Illinois in 1999, but had not been found to be infected with Heartland virus in the state.

Getty Images
Getty Images
loading...
Woman face with disgusting expression in pop art style
Getty Images
loading...

What Is The Heartland Virus?

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Heartland Virus is a virus that is spread by an infected Lone Star Tick, and presents the following symptoms:

  • Most people infected with Heartland virus experience fever, fatigue (feeling tired), decreased appetite, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain. Many are hospitalized because of their symptoms.
  • Some people also have lower than normal counts of white blood cells (cells that help fight infections) and lower than normal counts of platelets (which help clot blood). Sometimes tests to check how well the liver is working (liver function tests) can show increased levels of liver enzymes.
  • Symptoms and signs of Heartland virus disease (Heartland) are often similar to those of other tickborne illnesses, such as ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis.

The Illinois residents who've become infected with the Heartland Virus all had the symptoms listed above, and went on to recover. That's a good thing, because the CDC says there is currently no vaccine to prevent Heartland Virus infection, and no treatment exists to deal with it. Click here for details on how to prevent being infected to begin with.

The really freaky thing that can happen if you're bitten by a Lone Star Tick is the sudden onset of an allergy to meat and dairy products. Check this out:

20 Most Expensive Homes For Sale in Illinois Right Now

The Ghost Hunting Game is High at These 12 Places in Wisconsin

More From 96.7 The Eagle