If you love being outdoors, camping, going into the woods and walking on trails, you may want to be extra careful and take some extra precautions.

 

tick

 

There’s been a new deer tick virus discovered in our area and this newly found virus may be deadly.

This virus, which has been found in Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties, is called the Powassan Virus. It affects people faster than Lyme Disease. Some of the symptoms from The Powassan Virus include headaches, being lethargic, fever and drowsiness.

Researchers from the Wadsworth Center, New York State’s public health laboratory have been doing studies on this virus and have discovered that there’s a one in 20 chance that if a person is bitten by a deer tick, they’ll have the fatal illness.

In the story from News 10 ABC, it’s also been discovered that there’s an increase in deer ticks in our area. Some of things that you can do to help to prevent the disease is to use insect repellent, where long pants, especially in those wooded areas and tuck your pants into your socks.

We want everyone to be safe this summer.

The Center for Disease Control has this to say about Powassan Virus:

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms

  • Many people who become infected with Powassan (POW) virus do not develop any symptoms.
  • The incubation period (time from tick bite to onset of illness) ranges from about 1 week to 1 month.
  • POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
  • Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures. 
  • Approximately half of survivors have permanent neurological symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, muscle wasting and memory problems. 
  • Approximately 10% of POW virus encephalitis cases are fatal.

Treatment

  • There are no vaccines or medications to treat or prevent POW virus infection.
  • If you think you or a family member may have POW virus disease, see your health care provider for evaluation and diagnosis.

Persons with severe POW illnesses often need to be hospitalized. Treatment may include respiratory support, intravenous fluids, and medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

Transmission

Powassan (POW) virus is an RNA virus that belongs to the genus Flavivirus. It is related to West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and Tick-borne encephalitis viruses.

Humans become infected with POW virus from the bite of an infected tick. Humans do not develop high enough concentrations of POW virus in their bloodstreams to infect feeding ticks. Humans are therefore considered to be “dead-end” hosts of the virus.

POW virus is maintained in a cycle between ticks and small-to-medium-sized rodents. In North America, three main enzootic cycles occur: Ixodes cookei and woodchucks, Ixodes marxi and squirrels, and Ixodes scapularis and white-footed mice. Ixodes cookei and Ixodes marxi rarely bite humans. Ixodes scapularis often bite humans and is the primary vector of Lyme disease.

There are two types of POW virus in the United States. The first type, often called lineage 1 POW virus, appears to be associated with Ixodes cookei or Ixodes marxi ticks. The other type, lineage 2 POW virus is sometimes called Deer tick virus, and is associated with Ixodes scapularis ticks. Both lineages have been linked to human disease.

powassan

Cases reported to CDC through 2001 – 2012

 

There is no specific medicine to cure or treat POW virus disease. Treatment for severe illnesses may include hospitalization, respiratory support, and intravenous fluids.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!!

Till next Time,

Squatch-D

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