Recently the social media scene has exploded with stories of a new virus that can be carried by the dreaded deer tick. We’ll all familiar with them carrying Lyme Disease but now there could be another more dangerous and severe virus associated with them known as Powassan Virus.
What is Powassan Virus??
– Powassan (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks
-The Northeast and Great Lakes region have had the most cases
-Signs and symptoms of infection can include: fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Also long-term neurological problems may occur.
-Powassan virus has no specific treatment. People with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized for respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.
– “Unlike with Lyme and the other big infections from this tick, there is virtually no ‘grace period,’ ” he said. “It is transmitted much faster, and it can be fatal in about 10 percent of actual cases.”-Thomas Daniels, Entomologist
-This virus is NOT new
-Within the last 10 years there have been 60 cases of the POW Virus
– An infection rate of this virus is below 3 percent in adult ticks (lower in nymphs)
-Any increase in the virus can be due to the increase in tick population and is dependent upon factors such as weather and geographical location
How to Prevent
-You can reduce your risk of being infected with POW virus and Lyme Disease by:
-use tick repellents, like DEET
-Avoid wooded areas
-Wear long sleeves and pants, and high socks with covered shoes
-Always do thorough tick checks after spending any time outdoors
There is no doubt that these little insects can lead to big problems, especially when it comes to our health. The best thing is to stay informed, take the right precautions, and always keep an eye out for bites and symptoms. If you’re concerned that you may have an issue this year at your home, call us. We do free estimates and we can treat your property for ticks and other harmful insects. We’ve been specializing in keeping your family safe since 1975, call us today to treat the ticks away!