Powassan Virus : First Fatal Case
A person in the US recently died from the rare Powassan virus, marking the first fatal case in the US this year.
- Powassan Virus Disease is a rare, yet often serious disease that is spread by the bite of infected ticks.
- The Powassan virus, often called a ticking time bomb, is named after Powassan, Ontario where it was first discovered in 1958.
- Not all ticks carry these viruses and not all people bitten by a tick will get sick.
- A tick needs to be attached to a person for a certain length of time before it can cause disease.
- People in the initial days can experience symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting, and weakness.
- The virus can further cause brain infection (encephalitis) or form the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
- In severe cases, patients can suffer from confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, and seizures.
- There are no medications to prevent or treat Powassan virus infection.
- Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medications may relieve some symptoms.