Powassan Virus: New, Deadly Tick Spread Disease Scaring Doctors

CBS Local – There are a few drawbacks to the calendar shifting to the summer months. However, it does mean an influx in ticks and their infections, like Lyme’s disease. And now doctors are finding a new, potentially fatal disease: Powassan virus.

Powassan virus is even more serious than Lyme’s, as it causes inflammation to the brain. For the reported cases, 15% of those infected have died and another 50% have had some form of a neurological disability. As of right now, there’s no cure.

Symptoms include: fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties and seizures.

“About 15% of patients who are infected and have symptoms are not going survive,” Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the division of neurological and inflammatory diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, via CNN. “Of the survivors, at least 50% will have long-term neurological damage that is not going to resolve.”

The recent proliferation of Powassan virus cases is that deer ticks have begun carrying it, and deer ticks bite more regularly than other ticks.

“There are some experimental therapies we try when somebody comes in and they get here early enough and we get the therapy started early enough, but we have no idea if any of that works,” Lyons said.

Thankfully, the ticks carrying the disease are not a majority. Far from it. According a report out of Maine, 7% of ticks carry the disease and another from New York that found about 1-2%. Compared to Lyme’s disease, where it’s figured that about 20% of all ticks carry it.

As of right now, there have been no reported cases that haven’t come from a tick bite. So, this disease can only infect you if you’ve been bitten by a tick.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Tampa

6 of the Best Ways to Spend Your Summer in Tampa BayTampa Bay is calling your name! Our beautiful area offers so much and this list is just a small segment of what Tampa Bay has in store for you this summer. Here are the best ways to spend your summer here in Tampa Bay.
Best Party Beaches Around Tampa BayIt's illegal to drink alcohol on most of Tampa Bay's beaches - unless you know about these next six locations.

Listen Live