What is it?
The Powassan virus is a tick-borne virus that recently has caught the public attention. Most cases however, have been reported in the Northeast and the Great Lakes regions.
Powassan virus is a Flavivirus that is transmitted to humans generally by the blacklegged deer tick. However, this virus is also found in other tick species. Unlike Lyme disease which is a bacterial infection, Powassan is a virus and therefore, can be a bit more difficult to treat.
Only around 60 cases of Powassan virus have been reported in the United States over the past 10 years. The Powassan virus can cause long-term neurological damage and in very rare instances can even be fatal if left untreated.
Because so few people have been infected by this virus, there really is no reason to be overly alarmed but you should be aware. Most cases occur around the spring and early summer seasons, as this is when people are most active outdoors and it is also when ticks are most active as well.
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Some common and extreme symptoms associated with Powassan include:
- memory loss
Untreated, these symptoms will gradually get worse over time.
There is currently no cure for this virus or any virus for that matter. If a person is experiencing the signs or symptoms mentioned above then they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although individuals are not commonly tested for Powassan infection, it can be detected in both spinal fluid and the blood. If infected with the virus, then IV fluids, respiratory support, and proper antibiotics may be needed in treatment
It is nearly impossible to avoid wood ticks if you spend any time outdoors where there is plenty of flora and fauna. It is important though to be proactive when it comes to preventing any type of tick-borne illness. Avoid wooded areas when possible and those places with overgrown grass such as meadows and fields where ticks are most likely to be. If outside for long periods of time and in brushy or treed areas, wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. It's also a good idea to wear the proper shoes. Of course, after being outdoors in a tick infested area it is always wise to do full body checks. Cedar oil can also be an effective repellent.
Where to Buy Cedar Oil
For a full range of cedar oil products for use on yards, pets, livestock, humans and more, visit Cedarcide.
This is just the start of what you need to know about Lyme disease. Take a look at our Lyme disease topic page to get a fuller education on the subject.
Sources:"Scarsdale." Powassan Virus: What You Need To Know