Connecticut reports its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know

Connecticut reports its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know
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Connecticut reports its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know

Connecticut reports its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced the state’s first reported Powasan virus infection last Wednesday. The Powasan virus is a rare disease that is spread by the same tick that causes Lyme disease, according to a recent press release.

“The identification of Connecticut residents with Pawasan virus-related illnesses underscores the need to take steps to prevent tick bites by the end of autumn,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, Connecticut Health Commissioner.

“Using insect repellent, avoiding areas where there is a risk of ticks, and checking for ticks after being outdoors can reduce your or your child’s chances of contracting the virus.”

The Powassan virus, first discovered in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, is usually spread by the bite of an infected black foot or deer tick, officially known as Ixodes scapularis, and can be transmitted within 15 minutes of a tick bite, but symptoms can develop within a week. It may take up to a month, according to the release.

This is in contrast to Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi and usually occurs 36-48 hours after a black foot tick bite. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Secondary human infections of the Pawasan virus have been recognized in the United States, Canada, and Russia, with ticks most active in the late spring, early summer, and mid-autumn, mostly from the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region. CDC.

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Between 2011-20, in addition to Connecticut, the following states reported cases to the CDC: Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

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Pausan cases are rare, reported to the CDC in 2020, but reported cases are on the rise, with typically 30,00 cases of Lyme disease reported to the CDC each year, but the actual number is probably closer to 476,000 per year because of the agency, underporting.

People who work outdoors and engage in recreational activities in local areas for the virus are at increased risk of infection.

The Connecticut patient who contracted the Powasan virus was a male patient in his 50s who began to feel sick in the fourth week of March after a tick bite. He was later hospitalized with a central nervous system disease and the laboratory has confirmed evidence of the virus’s antibodies by the CDC, but according to the health department, he has now been discharged at home and is recovering.

Most people infected with the Powassan virus do not have mild flu-like symptoms or any other symptoms, but some will experience serious illness affecting the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal cord and brain, according to the health department.

A wooden tick on the finger

Early symptoms of a serious illness include headache, vomiting, fever, and weakness that quickly lead to confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, or convulsions. Treatment is supportive care, which means there are no specific medications prescribed against the disease, but symptoms can be noticed instead.

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In 10 cases of serious illness, approximately half of the survivors experience long-term complications.

There were 12 cases of the Powasan virus in Connecticut from 2017 to 2021, of which three were fatal in 2021 and two in 12, the release said.

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Connecticut is a state well known for tick-bites, where the CDC has classified it as a highly-contagious area for Lyme disease until 2019.

Lyme disease was first diagnosed in 1975 by a researcher at Connecticut’s Lyme. Described by William Bergdorfer, who, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), combined the surprising symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis with deer tick bites.

He discovered that a spiral-shaped bacterium, known as a spirochete, caused this condition by ticks, now known as Lyme disease. According to the NIH, the spirochete was named Borelia Bergdorferi in 1982 in his honor.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the primary symptom of Lyme disease is a hallmark rash that looks like a “bull’s-eye”, known as erythema migraine, but can later progress to joint pain and nervous problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Blacklaged ticks can carry not only Lyme disease and the Powasan virus, but also other tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis, so it is possible to be infected with multiple infections at the same time, which is called co-infection according to the CDC.

Some tips to prevent tick bites include: avoiding grassy, ​​brushed or forested areas, using CDC-recommended mosquito repellent, checking for ticks immediately after outdoor activity, and taking a bath within two hours of each release.

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