Powassan virus prompts officials to expand tick monitoring

Category: Health Written by Admin 121 4

Summer is nearly here, and it’s bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan. This potentially life-threatening virus is carried and transmitted by three types of ticks, including the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease.

Over the past decade, 75 cases have been reported in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though no one can say how many infections will occur this year, warmer winters have led to an increased tick population, so experts predict rising tick-borne infections of many types.

Health officials ramp up testing for rare Powassan virus

The Public Health Agency of Canada says it’s broadening screening for Powassan virus in the tiny, blood-sucking arachnids to include blacklegged ticks.

Human cases of the virus, which can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, have been reported this spring in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine, prompting several other states to be on the lookout for the disease.

The virus was first identified in 1958 in Powassan, Ont., where a child who contracted the disease later died.

Officials in Canada are expanding their monitoring of ticks for the Powassan virus, which causes vomiting, fever, headache, weakness, confusion, seizures, swelling of the brain and memory loss. (Radio-Canada)
Officials in Canada are expanding their monitoring of ticks for the Powassan virus, which causes vomiting, fever, headache, weakness, confusion, seizures, swelling of the brain and memory loss. (Radio-Canada)

Since then, only 16 human cases have been reported in Canada.
But health officials say the numbers of blacklegged ticks have expanded rapidly in Canada over the last 10 years.

Powassan virus has been detected in groundhog ticks and blacklegged ticks from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

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4 thoughts on “Powassan virus prompts officials to expand tick monitoring

  1. dara

    Powassan virus is even more serious than Lyme’s, as it causes inflammation to the brain. In reported cases, 15% of those infected have died and another 50% have had some form of a neurological disability.

  2. dan

    Just read the CDC information. 75 cases in ten years. Hardly believe this will arise to a pandemic, but ticks carry disease unfortunately. Seems as if this is in the Boston area

  3. V ick

    I’m not so sure this is accurate, it seems as if there is a lack of evidence to support the claim. It also has no reports of actual cases or outcomes. It’s also from CBS. Not saying it’s untrue, I’m just saying there’s no evidence.

  4. pat

    So, in other words, you have a greater chance of winning the Powerball than to be infected by this virus. Great job Cleveland 19 News, more scare tactics of lame-stream media.

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