CDC Has New Virus Warnings This Tick Season
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning us of a virus that is apparently being carried by ticks called the Powassan Virus (POW), a neuroinvasive disease that currently has no known cure and about a 10% death rate for those that develop encephalitis from POW.
Don't panic, so far the numbers are extremely low, with less than 70 cases reported nationwide between 2006 - 2015, all of which have come from the Northeastern and Great Lakes part of the United States.
Here are the symptoms according to the CDC website:
Many people who become infected with Powassan (POW) virus do not develop any symptoms.
The incubation period (time from tick bite to onset of illness) ranges from about 1 week to 1 month.
POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures.
Approximately half of survivors have permanent neurological symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, muscle wasting and memory problems.
Approximately 10% of POW virus encephalitis cases are fatal.
If you were to get a disease from a tick in the East Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana area, it would most likely be Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, nothing to be cavalier about for sure, but treatable.
The most important takeaway from this is if you're heading into the woods, try to avoid tall grass if possible, and check yourself and your friends and family for ticks. If you get bitten, know how to safely remove the tick without leaving the hypostome in your skin. Two great tick removal methods are in the videos below.
Have fun in the woods, just be aware of the dangers and how to treat them.