Not a super great headline to start off your weekend, but it’s important you beware of ticks. No, seriously, this season is off to an extremely rocky start. A 5-month-old infant is the first person to come down with a potentially deadly tick-borne illness.
Researchers found ticks carrying Powassan last week. Normally, the virus is found in ticks further up north or around the Great Lakes region.
NBC Connecticut says the infant first became sick in November. The family believes a family member accidentally brought the tick inside. It fed on the child for about 3 hours before it was discovered.
The baby then began suffering from fever, vomiting, seizures, and eye problems. Doctors also said the muscles in the infant’s right arm would stiffen.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention finally narrowed down what was causing the problem. It was Powassan virus. Unfortunately, there’s no cure. There’s only supportive care.
Thankfully, the child is making a full recovery. The Hartford Courant says the only change is that the child now prefers writing with their left hand. Doctors believe it is due to the muscle spasms that happened on the child’s right side.
But that road to recovery was awfully long. About five months.
Which is why Connecticut’s politicians are rallying to make sure this never happens again. The state is in the midst of a severe boom in the tick population.
Along with that, there’s also an increasing problem with Lyme Disease.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says he wants to see a change in treatment and research. He said in a statement:
“The first confirmed case of Powassan Virus in Connecticut further underscores the urgent need for research into tick-borne diseases.”
Still, experts are urging the public not to panic, but to just be prepared. The virus infects about seven people a year.
So, the chances of you getting Powassan are pretty slim to none. I think you may actually have a better chance winning the lottery with the current statistics. Really, there’s no need to lock yourself or your family inside for the summer.
Besides, only 2 to 4 percent of ticks are capable of carrying and transmitting the disease.
The CDC echoed those sentiments. There’s too much that’s still unknown about the issue.
“It is not known whether this represents spread of the virus within the local tick population, or increased testing and recognition of the virus as a cause of human disease.”
They’ll figure it out eventually now that politicians are working on getting them more funding.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do is stock up on bug spray and check your family for ticks when you come back from playing outside. Avoiding tall grass is a bonus.
You can also wear long pants and tuck them into your socks to reduce the risk of tick bites. That’s such a bold fashion statement, anyway.
So, exercise a little more caution than usual when playing outside this year.