Maine CDC Confirms First Case Of Powassan Virus In Two Years
The Maine CDC has confirmed Maine's first case of the tick-borne Powassan Virus in two years.
We've all heard about Lyme Disease. In fact, I'd be willing to bet you know more than one person who's been infected. But, unlike Lyme, the tick doesn't have to be embedded for as long before it spreads Powassan. Lyme is caused by a bacterium, while Powassan is a virus. A tick needs to be attached for 24 to 48 hours before it infects a person with Lyme, while Powassan can be spread in 15 minutes.
Symptoms of the Powassan Virus include headache, fever, vomiting, and weakness. In some cases, long-term neurologic symptoms can occur, including confusion, memory loss, seizures and even death. There's no specific treatment for Powassan, but people with severe cases of the virus often need to be hospitalized. More often than not, however, people show no symptoms and have no long-term issues with the virus.
The best defense against contracting Powassan virus, as with Lyme Disease, is to avoid getting bit by a tick. Easier said than done, I know. But wearing long pants tucked into socks, boots, and long-sleeved shirts whenever you're in a wooded area, is a good start. Use repellants and do regular tick checks when going back inside.
Maine CDC officials haven't released many details, only saying the case in Maine was detected in the southern part of the state.