Ticks have long been a disease vector for human, but recently, a new tick-borne disease has shown up in Massachusetts. Deer ticks have been found to increasingly carry the Powassan virus, a deadly illness for which there is no vaccine or antiviral. The best way for Massachusetts residents to protect themselves is to stay away from its carriers, which means always wearing footwear when outside, avoiding wooded areas during the summer, and investing in tick control.
What’s So Dangerous about Powassan?
The Powassan Virus is classified as a Flavivirus. Like fellow Flaviviruses yellow fever, Dengue, and Zika, Powassan tends to attack the brain if left untreated. As of May 3rd, 15% of Powassan cases resulted in death, and 50% in neurological disability. Extreme cases can result in encephalitis, the swelling of the brain. Since there’s no way to destroy the virus, treatment focuses on symptoms, using medicines to keep swelling to a minimum.
What Are Its Symptoms?
Symptoms of Powassan usually manifest 1-3 weeks after infection. They include fever, headache, nausea, confusion, speech difficulties, and weakness. A human can be infected with the virus as quickly as 12 hours after the tick bites. In the Northeast, Powassan is most common in New York State and Massachusetts, where the deer tick Ixodes cookei lives. If you begin to feel flu-like symptoms after being bitten by a black-legged tick, seek a doctor immediately.
Prevent Powassan with Tick Control
Since there’s no way to destroy Powassan, the only way to beat it is to avoid it. Don’t take any chances walking barefoot near a wooded area. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus by getting tick control on your person and property. In addition to wearing bug spray when you go outside, you can protect your entire family from Powassan by applying repellent to your whole yard.
Mosquito Shield of South Shore, Cape Cod & South Coast has developed a solution tick and mosquito infestation. Equally effective against ticks, the Mosquito Shield® uses a three-pronged approach to kill the pests, mask the CO2 that attracts them, and lay down repellent to keep them away. Mosquito Shield® users have seen reductions in their insect population overnight. Call (800) 908-7076 today or visit their website to keep your area Powassan-free.