The warm weather we’re having is bringing in more and more ticks. Health experts are warning people to be very careful when they go outside. This year might be a good one for tick-borne diseases and a scary one for us. The Powassan virus, a very rare and dangerous one, is transmitted by three types of ticks. Worryingly, these specific ticks are starting to spread all over the Great Las region and the northeastern states.
The CDC is also warning people to be alert to prevent any contact with ticks. The Powassan virus is even more dangerous than Lyme disease (also spread by ticks). Because of the fact that it is very rare, only 75 cases have been registered in the US in the last ten years. However, the main cause of the increase in tick populations seems to be the increasingly warm temperatures.
Experts state that more and more diseases are going to spread because of these insects. Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the Division of Neurological Infections and Inflammatory Diseases at Brigham mentioned that everybody could contract the virus once they are bitten by an infected tick. She also underlined hat people usually get infected with this virus in early summer and mid-fall.
“About 15% of patients who are infected and have symptoms are not going survive. Of the survivors, at least 50% will have long-term neurological damage that is not going to resolve,” stated Dr. Lyons
People who are infected with Powassan virus usually don’t show symptoms. This makes it even harder to diagnose. Those who show symptoms usually suffer from headaches and flu-like sensations. The biggest problem is that the virus can cause severe damage. Some people can develop seizures and the inability to breathe.
Doctor Lyons also mentioned that there is no treatment for this condition. Researchers have developed some experimental therapies, but studies on them have been inconclusive. Also, they can work only if the disease is caught at an early stage. Usually, for this condition, doctors administer antiviral medication and intravenous fluids to address the symptoms.
Health experts recommend people stay away from bushy areas and wear long sleeves and pants. People should also use insect repellent and check for bites after spending time outside. As they say: it’s better to prevent than to treat.
What is your opinion about this virus? Do you think the rising global temperatures could be connected to the increased populations of ticks? As of now, preventing it from spreading falls on each and every one of us taking adequate protective measures.
Image source: Wikipedia