Another New tick virus in the U.S.


It appears that the environments that can have ticks in them are becoming more and more treacherous in the U.S.  Another disease is heading down to the United States from Canada.  This virus is called Powassan encephalitis and it is from the Powassan virus.

This virus started in Powassan, Canada in 1959 with only sporadic reports of the virus appearing in lower Canada and the upper American states.  However, in the previous ten years 75 cases have been reported in 12 different states.  Massachusetts alone reported 13 different cases three of them fatal.   This virus is fatal in 10% of its cases with over 50% suffering permanent brain damage.  Even worse, this virus does not have a cure or vaccine yet.  This could be a big problem.   Lyme disease can be bad but if you can get treatment early most if not all problems will be avoided.   With this disease, there is not one, so if you contract it you have to hope you are not in the 10% of fatal cases and even after that worry about permanent brain damage.

Another problem is that the deer tick, the same one that can host lime disease, is carrying this virus.  This tick is very small and very easy to overlook.  This makes it a hazard to anyone walking in the forest on in tall grass due to the tick being able to hide and get onto a person without them noticing, drink their blood and possibly transfer a disease while doing that.   From reports, it appears that 5 percent of deer ticks are carrying this virus. That appears small but 30,000 people last year were treated for lime disease.  That is just the people who were bit by a deer tick and showed symptoms.  No one knows the exact number of people bit each year by ticks but this article estimated the number is in the millions. With a new disease in the mix, it is possible that more people will be hospitalized due to this tick-hosted pathogen.  Until, a cure if found the best defense against these things would be the same as every other tick-hosted pathogen, avoid the tick and there will be no problem.  One thing can be said for sure though; this might be the year of the tick.



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