HealthDay News — The first confirmed human case of Keystone virus — named after the location in the Tampa Bay area where it was first identified in 1964 — has been diagnosed in a Florida teen, but it’s likely that infection with the mosquito-borne disease is common among state residents, researchers report.
University of Florida researchers describe the case of a teenage boy who went to an urgent care clinic in North Central Florida with a rash and fever in August 2016, during the Zika virus epidemic in Florida and the Caribbean. Tests on the patient were negative for Zika or related viruses, but did reveal Keystone virus infection, according to the study published online June 9 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“This virus is part of a group commonly known as the California serogroup of viruses,” first author, John Lednicky, PhD, a research professor in the department of environmental and global health and a member of the Emerging Pathogens Institute, said in a statement. “These viruses are known to cause encephalitis in several species, including humans.”
The teenager in Florida did not have symptoms of encephalitis. But the study authors reported that the virus grew well in mouse brain cell cultures, which suggests that Keystone can infect brain cells and may pose a risk for brain infections. While this is the first documented case of Keystone infection in a human, it’s long been suspected that such infections occur.