Science Times - Powassan Virus Detected in Connecticut: State Health Department Confirms 2 Cases of the Tick-Borne Virus
(Photo : NIAID on Wikimedia Commons) Deer ticks, also called blacklegged ticks and can transmit the pathogen that causes tickborne diseases such babesiosis, Lyme disease and Powassan virus.

The health department confirmed early today two cases of Powassan virus or POWV after Connecticut residents tested positive for the illness.

According to a Patch report, the state Department of Public Health said these are the first cases of this fatal, tick-borne disease reported this year in Connecticut.

Between 2016 and 2020, 10 cases of illnesses associated with POWV were reported in the state, which include two occurrences last year. Two of these infections were deadly.

The patients, whose ages range from 50 to 79 years old, turned ill during the third week of April, a DPH news release specified.

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Science Times - Powassan Virus Detected in Connecticut: State Health Department Confirms 2 Cases of the Tick-Borne Virus
(Photo : NIAID on Wikimedia Commons)
Deer ticks, also called blacklegged ticks and can transmit the pathogen that causes tickborne diseases such babesiosis, Lyme disease and Powassan virus.

Presence of Antibodies to POWV

Lab tests carried out at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Laboratory in Ft. Collins, CO, verified the presence of antibodies to POWV.

Both patients were admitted to the hospital with central nervous system disease, and have been discharged and are currently in recovery. They reside in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.

Powassan virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected tick, or black-legged or "deer" tick. Essentially, it takes seven to 30 days following the bite of an infected tick to develop symptoms of the virus, and it can be transferred in as little as 15 minutes after the tick initially attaches.

POWV-associated diseases have been reported from early spring until late fall. According to Deidra Gifford, DPH Acting Commissioner, the identification of two Connecticut residents with the Powassan virus-associated illness underscores the need to take actions for the prevention of tick bites while ticks are most active "from now through late fall."

POWV Symptoms

While most people who have the virus likely experience no symptoms, or mild flu-like disease, some individuals are likely to develop severe infection affecting their central nervous system.

A similar MSN News report said, approximately one out of 10 cases of severe infection are deadly and roughly half of survivors are experiencing long-term health conditions.

Severe cases may start with vomiting, fever, headache, or weakness, and quickly progress to confusion, loss of coordination, seizures, or difficulty speaking.

There is no vaccine or special treatment for Powassan virus-associated illness. Severe diseases are usually treated by a supportive treatment which may include hospital admission, IV fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of other diseases.

How to Prevent Tick Bites

To prevent tick bites, the DPH has released guidelines. Part of these recommendations includes avoiding places where ticks are likely to be like in bushy, wooden, or grassy areas. Essentially, ticks are active from spring to fall. They may also be active during warmer days in winter.

The DPH also proposes considering the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents that contain DEET, oil of lemon, picaridin, eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, or IR3535, and apply following directions, when outdoors.

For families, both adults and children should check themselves for ticks immediately after they come indoors. It will also help reduce the risk of tick-borne disease if they shower within two hours of coming indoors.

Clothing, gear, and pets need to be carefully examined after coming indoors. Tumble dry clothing for at least 10 minutes to kill ticks that were possibly brought indoors. For those with pets, it is best to talk to a veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for their dog.

Lastly, the DPH recommends considering treating items like clothing, boots, camping, or hiking gear with products that contain 0.5 percent permethrin.

A similar report is shown on AmbitiousSlacker's YouTube video below:

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