Missouri health officials have refused to follow a subpoena for information about a tick-borne virus that killed a civil servant.
The subpoena is the latest of some attempts by state legislators to force the Missouri Ministry of Health and Elders to provide information disclosure on the Bourbon virus, a disease that was discovered in 2014 in Kansas.
The symptoms of the virus include fever, fatigue, skin rash, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Missouri lawmakers want to know how many people across the country have been tested positive for antibodies to the deadly virus. But the health department refused to provide data on Monday, citing privacy concerns, Kansas City Star said.
"It was just a last-ditch effort to give them the cover they felt as if they needed to give us the information we asked for before we had to decide one way or the other whether or not we did cut their budget because they did not respond, "said Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, chairman of Parliament's budget committee.
In answer to the question Legislators passed a budget on Wednesday that cut the agency by eight digits.
Legislators have been asking for more information when Tamela Wilson died of the virus last year after being exposed to a state park. The department carried out blood tests on some State Park employees after Wilson died, but the results remain confidential.
The Health Department said none of the collected ticks tested positive for the virus.
The department quoted the State Health and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, as grounds for withholding the information
But lawmakers have pushed for transparency about a potential public health crisis.
Nikki Loethen, health adviser, proposed to resolve the conflict
Loethen said, "Since our two branches of government were unable to resolve this issue, the department respectfully suggests that it should be resolved the third branch of the government could decide whether the information could be lawfully transmitted. " 1