Massachusetts Still Has The Most Cases of a Rare But Deadly Disease
It's still that time of year when you and your loved ones have to inspect each other for ticks when going inside from outdoor activities. Wearing long pants, keeping yourself covered, and using bug spray with DEET is a must when spending lengthy periods of time outdoors, especially around wooded areas.
Of course, a well-known illness that we want to avoid getting is Lyme Disease as it can wreak havoc on our bodies including joints, heart, and nervous system. However, there is another tick-borne illness that you can contract even though it is rare. That disease is called the Powassan Virus.
What is the Powassan Virus?
The Powassan Virus is a very lethal virus that people can contract from a tick bite (though the virus can't be contracted from person to person). This virus is rare but if you do get bit, you can catch a disease that is spread by the virus and it can infect your system within 15 minutes. Mild flu symptoms to inflammation of the brain are symptoms of this disease.
An Elderly New England Woman Recently Died After She Contracted the Powassan Virus
Back in July of this year, an 80-year-old Rhode Island woman passed away after she developed neurological symptoms from contracting the Powassan Virus. Though the virus is rare it has been on the increase in recent years. As a matter of fact, between 2013 and 2022, there were 93 cases of Powassan reported in New England: 49 cases in Massachusetts, 18 cases in Connecticut, 16 cases in Maine, five cases in New Hampshire, and five cases in Rhode Island. As you can see Massachusetts leads the way in having the highest number of Powassan Virus cases in a single New England state.
How Can I Protect Myself From Contracting the Powassan Virus?
You can protect yourself from getting the virus using the same forms of tick prevention that were mentioned above. As a reminder, you'll want to wear long pants tucked into your socks when being outside for any length of time. In addition, you'll want to use repellent with DEET and check both yourself and other people in your party to make sure there aren't any ticks on you or others. Remember to have fun and stay protected.