Connecticut woman dies of tick-borne Powassan virus


A Connecticut girl in her 90s died past month from the tick-borne Powassan virus, the Connecticut Division of Public Health verified Tuesday.

The female became ill in early Could with indications which includes fever, an altered mental condition, headache, chills, upper body soreness and nausea, the department mentioned. She experienced a tick taken off two weeks just before her symptoms started off, and laboratory exams confirmed she had antibodies for Powassan virus.

In April, a person in Maine also died of Powassan virus immediately after getting hospitalized with neurological indicators, in accordance to the Maine Centre for Disorder Control and Avoidance.

The virus spreads to persons via blacklegged ticks, also recognized as deer ticks, but people cannot go it to each and every other. Several people today who get infected really do not establish signs and symptoms at all. But in scarce instances, Powassan virus can induce a ailment characterised by brain irritation or meningitis, the swelling of membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The recent death in Connecticut “reminds us that residents require to just take actions to prevent tick bites now by way of the late fall,” Manisha Juthani, Connecticut’s general public wellness commissioner, stated in a information release.

Since deer ticks are especially lively from late spring to midfall, most Powassan cases are recorded throughout that time. The arachnids can transfer the virus after just 15 minutes of attaching to the body, Juthani said.

In the U.S., the virus is frequently found in the Northeastern and Fantastic Lakes locations, where deer ticks are extra prevalent. The majority of scenarios recorded in the previous 10 years have been in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York.

U.S. Powassan situations have risen in excess of the previous 10 years as deer ticks became much more prevalent. The Facilities for Illness Management and Avoidance identified 20 Powassan scenarios in 2020, the last 12 months for which facts was readily available, and 39 scenarios in 2019. In 2011, by comparison, 12 instances were being recorded.

Eleven p.c of the 194 scenarios documented in the U.S. from 2011 to 2020 have been lethal. Which is regular with the virus’s general fatality charge of 10 to 15 p.c amid people who create symptoms.

Those who get unwell generally start off to sense symptoms one week to one month right after they get infected. The sickness frequently starts with fever, headache, vomiting or weakness. From there, additional intense signs can manifest, like confusion, decline of coordination, issue talking and seizures. Additional than 90 p.c of the U.S. cases in the previous decade included neuroinvasive illness.

There are no vaccines or remedies for Powassan virus, so physicians typically provide fluids, fever-decreasing drugs or medication to lower brain inflammation. Survivors may encounter extensive-phrase indications these kinds of as recurring headaches, muscle mass weak spot and memory problems.

To prevent tick bites, the CDC endorses keeping absent from wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and making use of insect repellant right before activities like tenting or gardening. Donning long sleeves and long trousers tucked into socks can also assist, as can spraying garments and camping equipment with goods containing the insecticide permethrin.

The CDC indicates examining animals for ticks, spraying yards with pesticides and mowing the garden usually, as very well.

Immediately after out of doors actions, it truly is very best to shower within just two hours and clean apparel in incredibly hot drinking water or dry them on superior warmth. The CDC advises examining your human body for ticks ideal away after out of doors pursuits, significantly around the ears, armpits, tummy button, scalp, midsection, internal thighs and backs of the knees.

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