What We Know of the Tick-Borne Illness Spreading in the US July 15 2022
A woman in her 90s was hospitalized in Connecticut in early May with a peculiar combination of symptoms: disorientation, nausea, chest discomfort, chills, and fever. She died two weeks later, on May 17. A black-legged tick, a tiny arachnid approximately the size of a sesame seed when fully developed, was the perpetrator.
Blacklegged ticks, sometimes known as deer ticks, transmit various diseases. They're most well-known for transmitting Lyme disease, a condition that produces a rash, tiredness, fever, and other unpleasant, often severe, symptoms.
The tick that killed the lady in Connecticut carried a disease considerably rare and lethal than Lyme disease: Powassan virus, or POWV.
The Rising Cases of This Disease
The death in Connecticut is the country's second Powassan-related mortality this year. Two fatalities in a few months may not seem like much, but they indicate what appears to be a considerable surge in the condition, which specialists are concerned about.
The 134 instances identified in the United States between 2016 and 2020 reflect a 300 percent increase over the preceding five-year period. These cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, are almost undoubtedly symptomatic, with patients ending up hospitalized.
According to experts, the precise amount of the virus's spread throughout the United States may be more than what the CDC reports. Many Powassan instances are asymptomatic, and even when a patient exhibits symptoms, clinicians may be unable to diagnose the condition because of its rarity appropriately.
Experts predict that the incidence of the Powassan virus and other infections contracted from carriers in the natural environment will continue to grow as the climate changes owing to greenhouse gas emissions. Milder temperatures allow ticks to expand their ranges into new locations, while warmer winters allow the bloodsuckers to live from year to year.
How Do You Contract This Disease?
Tick researchers disagree on how significant of a public health danger Powassan is right now. But the essential point is that Powassan is an increasing worry, and if it becomes more frequent in the United States, it would be disastrous.
Powassan virus is an uncommon, tick-borne disease that can cause severe and often deadly sickness in people who become infected. The virus spreads when ticks get infected while feeding on groundhogs, squirrels, mice, or other rodents and subsequently bite a human.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three varieties of ticks are known to transfer the Powassan virus, including black-legged ticks, often known as deer ticks, which may be found across the state of New York (CDC).
How You Can Protect Yourself
There is currently no vaccine or treatment available to prevent or cure Powassan virus infection.
According to the CDC website, you may lower your risk of Powassan infection by using bug repellents, wearing long sleeves and trousers, avoiding bushy and forested areas, and performing thorough tick checks after spending time outside.
It is best to use a natural bug spray to keep you and your family protected at all times.
Those who suspect they are sick with the Powassan virus are recommended to see their doctor. According to the CDC, those with severe disease may need to be hospitalized to receive help for breathing, staying hydrated, or lowering brain swelling.
Ticks can be a problem for people in all 50 states. The recent rising number of cases of the Powassan virus in the US is raising serious concerns. Scientists say it may be linked to climate change.
If you're experiencing tick bites or other tick-related illnesses, you must contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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