Since the Powassan virus’s first American case in 2006, Massachusetts has recorded 13 infections. The virus is gaining momentum nationwide, rising from six new infections in 2015 to 21 in 2016. There is still no vaccination, and treatment focuses on mitigating its more severe symptoms—such as meningitis and encephalitis—rather than destroying the virus itself. Your best defense against Powassan is to never get it. That means informing yourself and applying tick control before they start crawling around looking for people to bite. Keep yourself safe from Powassan with these important facts:
Powassan Shows Symptoms After 1-3 Weeks
Powassan doesn’t start as encephalitis. At one to three weeks after infection, it might display symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, confusion, and weakness. If you or a loved one have recently been bitten by a tick and begin to feel any of the symptoms, get to a doctor immediately. Once the disease progresses to meningoencephalitis, a patient’s risk of death shoots to 10% and permanent brain damage to 50%.
Massachusetts Has a High Incidence of Tick-Borne Disease
At 13 infections in Massachusetts, Powassan isn’t exactly the common cold. It’s important to understand that Massachusetts is consistently one of the highest-ranking states in terms of tick-borne disease incidence, however. Its warm summers, humidity, and relatively high percent of forest cover makes it a hotspot for ticks. That’s not likely to change soon, so Powassan might not either: that’s why tick control is essential to preventing it.
Daily Tick Control Can Help Prevent Powassan
Spray-on tick control such as permethrin is extremely effective in keeping ticks away. Every time you go outside, consider wearing long pants, sleeves, and socks to stop any ticks from getting on you.
Keep an eye on the state of Powassan in Massachusetts—the situation is ongoing. For now, though, your best shot for staying safe is tick control.
Mosquito Shield of South Shore, Cape Cod & South Coast uses a three-pronged mosquito and tick control system that kills ticks, covers the factors that attract them to humans, and applies a repellent coating to make sure they don’t come back. Steer clear of the Powassan virus by calling them at (781) 424-5697 or visiting their website.