An older man from the mid-Southeastern USA presented with acute onset of fever, fatigue, and non-bloody diarrhoea. There was high suspicion for tick-borne illness given exposure history, clinical presentation and laboratory abnormalities. Despite prompt treatment with doxycycline, the patient clinically worsened. He was diagnosed with secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) due to Heartland virus (HRTV). This is the second documented case of secondary HLH due to HRTV, and the first in a relatively immunocompetent patient. Furthermore, though HRTV has been primarily concentrated in the Central USA, our case provides evidence of further geographic expansion of HRTV, mirroring the increased range of the Lone Star tick. Clinicians should consider HRTV when a patient with a clinical presentation consistent with tick-borne illness fails to respond to doxycycline. Furthermore, healthcare providers should be aware of the geographic expansion of HRTV and the potential of HRTV to lead to secondary HLH.
- Infectious diseases
- Public health
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Contributors All authors included on a paper fulfil the criteria of authorship. CGA was involved in the planning, conception and design, and writing of the manuscript. HM was involved in the planning, conception and design, and writing of the manuscript. RP was involved in the planning, conception and design, and writing of the manuscript. SN was involved in the planning, conception and design and writing of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.