Oh, great, just what we need. Don’t we have enough reasons to stay indoors this summer? So, as it turns out, there’s more than just Lyme disease to worry about this year. A new tick-borne illness has finally reached Connecticut.
And it’s a real doozy.
So, health officials have discovered ticks carrying the dreaded Powassan virus in Bridgeport and Branford. Trust me, you do not want to get this nasty disease. The Hartford Courtant says once you’re bitten by an infected tick, you can get infected almost immediately.
Like, in 15 minutes. Wheras, with Lyme,ticks need a solid 1 to 2 days of feeding before transmitting the disease.
Some of those bitten say they experienced the first symptoms in about 3 hours. So, it’s a pretty fast-acting sickness.
Those with Powassan can develop fever, headache, vomiting and lethargy. Also, the virus can attack the central nervous system. So, that can result in meningitis and encephalitis, along with other neurological issues. The most common of those are headaches, muscle wasting, and memory problems.
About 10 percent of all cases turn out to be fatal. It is also possible for survivors to suffer from severe and long-lasting neurological problems. Yeah, this virus sounds like a peach, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, there’s no treatment available for the Powassan virus. That also applies to a cure, too. The only thing doctors can do is give supportive care to patients.
Despite that, Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment, says there’s no need for alarm. He told Fox News:
“We’re not putting any major alarm out there, but we’re saying we need to be aware of this because we do appear to be seeing a re-emergence of it.”
Meanwhile, good guy Durland Fish, a Yale epidemiology professor, is demanding more research done on the virus. He studies Powassan and hopes with more emphasis on research, a vaccine could be developed years down the road.
If it makes you feel better, Powassan is found in about 2 to 3 percent of ticks capable of carrying it. In comparison to Lyme disease, 30 to 40 percent are capable of carrying it.
Still, that doesn’t excuse you from exercising caution. The experts recommend that, should you go adventuring through the woods, to wear long pants and to tuck them into your socks.
Yes, it’s one heck of a fashion statement, but I’d rather look unflattering than be bedridden with a headache from hell.
Also, you can bolster your bug spray arsenal. Repellent also helps keep the nasty bloodsuckers away, (which includes mosquitoes.)
One more thing, before going indoors, do a voluntary tick check on yourself and whatever pet that may have accompanied you. Apparently, these guys love hiding around your waistline. Their other hiding spots include behind your hairline and knees.
Will this news change your outdoor plans this summer? For me, nah. I still plan on going fishing and hiking. I just plan on being slightly more careful than last year.