Tick-Borne Powassan Virus Can Kill. What Is It, and How Can You Protect Yourself?

tick-borne powassan virus can kill. what is it, and how can you protect yourself?

Tick-Borne Powassan Virus Can Kill. What Is It, and How Can You Protect Yourself?

THURSDAY, May 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) – Robert Weymouth, 58, of Portland, Maine, died this year because of a tick bite.

You’ve likely heard of Lyme disease and the problems it can cause when passed to a human through the bite of a deer tick. But Lyme isn’t the only tick-borne illness in the woods.

Powassan virus — a rare and untreatable infection — is also transmitted by ticks. That’s the bite that led to fatal complications in the case of this Maine truck driver.

Weymouth — the third Powassan death since 2015 in Maine and the first this year — likely contracted the virus in the state, according to Maine’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He developed neurological symptoms and died in the hospital.

His widow, Annemarie Weymouth, is now warning others about protecting themselves from the illness.

“He was in there, but he couldn’t move his body. He could point to words on a board. He pointed to ‘scared,’ ‘afraid,’ ‘frustrated,'” Weymouth told CBS News.

True case numbers unknown

“Because it’s relatively rare to make the diagnosis, there’s a lot we don’t know,” said Dr. Eugene Shapiro, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Yale University.

But here’s what is known:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received 189 reports of Powassan infection between 2012 and 2021.

Most U.S. cases of Powassan virus happen in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions. Maine had four cases last year alone.

Though ticks are arachnids like spiders, the virus is not so different from some viruses in which a mosquito is the vector, such as dengue and Zika. Other than its transmission by a tick, Powassan virus is “in no way, shape or form anything like Lyme disease,” Shapiro said.

Powassan virus is closely related to something called tick-borne encephalitis, which is a virus particularly seen in Central Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Shapiro said.

The Powassan virus severely affects only a small number of people each year. But it’s possible many others are asymptomatic or have minor or flu-like symptoms and aren’t diagnosed.

The virus got its name from its discovery in a 5-year-old boy who died of the virus in the late 1950s in Powassan, Ontario, Canada.

Experts think it used to be transmitted primarily by the groundhog tick, which typically did not feed on humans. Instead, it fed mostly on skunks, groundhogs and squirrels, Shapiro said.

At some point, it moved to deer ticks, and those are ticks that commonly bite humans.

Brain inflammation

There are still many mysteries to unravel concerning Powassan virus. For example, although some research has suggested that as many as 5% of deer ticks in some areas of Connecticut are positive for the virus, that’s not showing up in high numbers of Powassan human infection, Shapiro said.

But cases are rising, according to CDC numbers, said Dr. Nicole Baumgarth, an immunologist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Yet it’s not clear whether there are actually more people becoming infected or if doctors are testing for it more frequently, she said.

“There is no treatment, other than sort of general support of an individual who has the disease,” Baumgarth said. “The most serious illness associated with Powassan is inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis, but not everybody who gets infected with this virus will develop these very severe cases.”

Other symptoms can include fever, chills, fatigue, rash on trunk of the body, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and neck stiffness, according to Yale Medicine.

However, the vast majority of those infected likely will have no symptoms or minor symptoms and not be diagnosed.

For those who do have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed, typically with encephalitis, the death rate is somewhere between 10% and 30%, Shapiro said.

Keep in mind, however, it is rare. “It is a little scary, but it is a rare disease,” Baumgarth said.

With Lyme disease, the tick has to be attached for about a day or so to transmit its infection. Pulling the tick off promptly puts you at low risk of infection. If it’s been longer, a single dose of doxycycline is moderately effective in preventing infection. However, Baumgarth noted that the Powassan pathogen can be transmitted faster than Lyme bacteria, “so it’s hard to outrun that.”

Prevention is the best cure

You can take some precautions to limit tick exposure when spending time in grassy or wooded areas that can harbor ticks, Baumgarth and Shapiro said.

Wear long sleeves and long pants, with the bottoms of the pants tucked inside socks.

Wear light-colored clothing so that any ticks might be visible. Remove them right away.

Use an insect repellent that has 30% DEET. Another repellent, permethrin, is meant to be applied to clothing.

After you return from hiking, wash clothes and place in a hot dryer. If it’s hot enough, that will kill ticks.

Check yourself for ticks after you return, shower immediately and have someone else check in places you can’t see, if possible.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the Powassan virus.

SOURCES: Eugene Shapiro, MD, professor, pediatrics and epidemiology, vice chair for research, Department of Pediatrics, and deputy director, investigative medicine PhD program, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; Nicole Baumgarth, DVM, PhD, immunologist, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore; CBS News

News Related


People in arid regions must be careful about water consumption: Experts

Tribune News Network Doha If Qatar’s water treatment facilities shut down for any reason, experts at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute’s (QEERI) Water Centre say that the country ... Read more »

Kuwait enters electoral silence phase Monday

Shutterstock ALBAWABA – Kuwait is slated to enter the “electoral silence” phase starting Monday in the midst of it preparation of upcoming parliamentary elections. The expected phase, also known as ... Read more »

Virender Sehwag offers free education for children of India's train crash victims

Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag. — AFP file With India reeling in the wake of the devastating train crash in Odisha, the eastern state in the country, legendary cricketer Virender ... Read more »

Wall St Week Ahead: Surging US megacap stocks leave some wondering when to cash out

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. A record $8.5 billion flowed into tech stocks in the latest week, data from BofA Global Research showed. — ... Read more »

Global Finance: Boubyan is the world’s best Islamic retail bank

KUWAIT: In a new achievement that reinforces its domestic and international leadership, Global Finance has named Boubyan Bank the “World’s Best Islamic Retail Bank” for 2023 upon announcing its awards ... Read more »

French Open doubles team forced to forfeit after accidentally hitting ball girl

Japan’s Miyu Kato and Indonesia’s Aldila Sutjiadi were disqualified from the French Open after Kato hit a loose ball and it struck a ball girl. A French Open doubles match ... Read more »

Boris Johnson told he could lose legal funding for Covid inquiry

Boris Johnson has been warned that public funding for his lawyers will be withdrawn if he tries to “undermine” the government during the Covid-19 inquiry. Following days of controversy over ... Read more »

Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Reveals Gender Of Her First Baby

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 23: Naomi Osaka of Japan in action against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei during the Miami Open Tennis on March 23, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. ... Read more »

Mansoor bin Mohammed crowns Vice President 's Jiu Jitsu Cup Champions in Dubai

DUBAI, 4th June, 2023 (WAM) — H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, attended the Vice President’s Jiu-Jitsu Cup and crowned the ... Read more »

Setback for Australia as Josh Hazlewood ruled out of WTC final against India

Australia suffered a significant setback on Sunday after it was announced that fast bowler Josh Hazlewood had been ruled out of the World Test Championship final against India. Hazlewood was ... Read more »

Kuwait FM holds talks with UN Black Sea grain deal coordinator

Kuwait: Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah received on Sunday the United Nations’ (UN) coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Abdullah Abdulsamad Dashti, discussing the latest on the deal that ... Read more »

Foreign ministry receives credentials of new Nepalese ambassador

Amman, June 4 (Petra) — Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates for Diplomatic Affairs Lina Hadid on Sunday received the credentials of the Ambassador of Nepal Sushil ... Read more »

Qatar’s Cherif and Ahmed claim silver at Ostrava Elite16

Tribune News Network Doha Qatar’s Cherif Younousse & Ahmed Tijan claimed silver in the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 men’s tournament in Ostrava on Sunday after going down 15-21, ... Read more »

Aussies have the edge, says Akram

Former Pakistan cricketer Wasim Akram opines that Australia has an edge against India in the World Test Championship (WTC) final as the English conditions would suit them. In an event ... Read more »

Odisha Train Accident: Sabotage, Mishap Or Mistake - What Initial Investigation Reveals?

Odisha Train Accident: Sabotage, Mishap Or Mistake – What Initial Investigation Reveals? Odisha Train Crash: Three trains of the Indian Railways were involved in one of the deadliest rail disasters ... Read more »

Max Verstappen dazzles in Spanish GP win as Lewis Hamilton impresses

Red Bull champion Max Verstappen was at his best again as he registered a dominant victory at the Spanish Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and ... Read more »

4th Jewels of the Emirates continues to impress visitors

SHARJAH, 4th June, 2023 (WAM)– The 4thedition of the “Jewels of the Emirates” Show, currently taking place at Expo Centre Sharjah, continues to impress its visitors with an impressive array ... Read more »

Israeli PM Netanyahu accuses UN nuclear watchdog of weakness on Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu convenes a cabinet meeting in Jersusalem. EPA Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, risks becoming a political organisation ... Read more »

AlUla's Jabal Ikmah added to Unesco's Memory of the World Register

AlUla’s striking Jabal Ikmah mountain has been added to Unesco’s Memory of the World Register. The list is meant to protect and preserve documentary heritage from around the world. Dating ... Read more »

KIB offers exclusive benefits for Visa Infinite credit cardholders

KIB Visa Infinite cardholders can enjoy many tailored benefits, including up to 5% cash back Kuwait International Bank (KIB) recently showcased the exclusive benefits of its Visa Infinite credit card, ... Read more »

Taliban strategy and collapse of ANDSF

We revert back to explore the reasons behind the collapse of Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) in August 2022, as reasoned in February 2023 report by SIGAR (Special ... Read more »

A new look at Old Delhi: walking in the walled city of India's capital

I’m perched on a lofty Old Delhi rooftop gamely trying to fly a small red kite. Awkwardly tugging its string, the kite dips and yaws, eventually crashing on to a ... Read more »

Uneasy, unnerving: Yasir Hussain evokes discomfort as Javed Iqbal in 'Kukri' trailer

The long-awaited trailer for Abu Aleeha’s directorial, Kukri has finally arrived, and it promises an intense and gripping cinematic experience. With a talented cast, a haunting visual atmosphere, and a ... Read more »

Why perception matters

Pakistan suffers reputational damage by being seen to be perpetually in crisis, both internal and external, which hardly creates any positive international image of the country. Unfortunately, the recent events ... Read more »

AED 7B Worth Housing Projects Announced in Abu Dhabi

AED 7B Worth Housing Projects Announced in Abu Dhabi AED 7 billion worth of new housing projects, totaling 1,742 residential villas for residents, have been announced by the Abu Dhabi ... Read more »

Moderate weather forecast in heights, hot in rest of areas says JMD

Amman, May 25 (Petra) — A slight drop in Temperatures is expected Friday and weather will be moderate in most areas of the Kingdom, and relatively hot in the Jordan ... Read more »

Letter from Lhasa: A painsworthy journey of discovery

Letter from Lhasa: A painsworthy journey of discovery Members of a Chinese expedition team display the Chinese national flag at the summit of Mount Qomolangma on May 23, 2023. (Photo ... Read more »

2023 Ford Super Duty Customer Deliveries Begin

2023 Ford Super Duty production The automaker produces the truck at two plants in the US. Ford has started customer deliveries of the new 2023 Super Duty. After a lengthy ... Read more »

Manager asks girl eating chips to mute her mic, Lay’s India responds

Manager asks girl eating chips to mute her mic, Lay’s India responds New Delhi: People use social media to share stories about their daily life. These stories might range from ... Read more »

'Dream Girl 2' To 'Tiger 3': Bollywood’s Most-Awaited Sequels Of 2023

‘Dream Girl 2’ To ‘Tiger 3’: Bollywood’s Most-Awaited Sequels Of 2023 New Delhi: The second half of 2023 in Bollywood comes with a promise of some power-packed performances. From rib-tickling comedies ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự