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Powassan Disease

Powassan disease is spread by the bite of a tick. It is a very rare disease that spreads by the bite of infected ticks. The disease is named after a town where it was identified first. This virus is not directly transmitted from person to person.

The spread of the disease is mostly during the periods in the year when ticks breed. People who work outdoors and are involved in gardening, camping, hiking and in wooded environments are more at risk. Blood tests and testing the spinal fluid helps in diagnosing the disease. There is no specific treatment for the disease. Healthcare providers work towards providing relief from symptoms associated with the disease. There are no home remedies that can cure the disease other than using tick repellant.

The incubation period lasts between a week and a month. Symptoms tend to appear within 4 weeks from when the person has been bitten by the tick. Symptoms include mild flu, headaches, vomitting, confusion, seizures and loss of coordination. While this is life-threatening, memory loss and weakness can be permanent for some patients. The Powassan virus can lead to encephalitis and meningitis.

Powassan disease affects a tick that bites an infected mouse or other infected mammals. This tick in turn bites humans thus spreading the infection. Deer tick or the black-legged tick spread the infection to humans. This is the same tick that spreads Lyme Disease. No vaccines or anti-viral are available; prevention is the best method to keep away from the disease. Proper precaution helps reduce the exposure to Powassan disease.

This disease has been mostly reported in the US. Most cases were reported in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of the US, especially during late spring and early summer. Health officials have asked people in these areas to take utmost precautions to avoid infection. This disease spreads

  • While venturing into high grasslands or vegetation make sure that you cover your body well. Ticks generally breed in these vegetation and stick/cling on to the human body when it brushes against the vegetation.

  • Tuck your shirt into your trousers/pants and pants into the socks. Ensure that there is no much skin exposure.

  • Wear light colored clothing so as to identify any ticks clinging to the dress.

  • Brush off ticks from the clothes before they get onto the skin.

  • Check frequently for ticks while outdoors.

  • Apply insect repellant appropriately.

  • Check for ticks in your pets and remove them.

Handling tick attached to clothes:

  • If you see a tick attached to your dress, make sure you remove it from the base using tweezers.

  • Do not squeeze the tick, or puncture the body of the tick as it may contain infected fluid, that when contracted can cause Powassan disease.

  • Pull the tick firmly in the upward direction.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after removing the ticks.

  • Have a bath or shower so as to remove any ticks if present.

Tags: #Powassan Disease
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 7, 2022