All About the Powassan Virus from Deer Ticks

All About the Powassan Virus from Deer Ticks

Should we be scared of this new virus? Yes and no. Here are the gory, deadly details.

If you’re afraid of contracting Lyme Disease from a deer biting tick, learning about the Powassan virus will likely make you cringe in horror. Powassan virus is a new sickness that’s been found in deer ticks and when it’s passed onto humans, the consequences are dire.

Do you need to run panic-stricken from outdoor life and never have fun in the woods again, this coming summer? Not necessarily.

Deadly Attack


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Here’s the scoop. Yes, the Powassan virus is to be feared and revered. Unlike Lyme disease, which can take up to 24 hours to pass from a biting tick to a human victim, this sickness takes all of 15 minutes.

If you’ve been bitten by a tick, you’ve got to act really fast to get it out. Powassan virus targets the brain and attacks the parts that work to keep us awake, keep our heart rate steady, and control our breathing.

Related: Lyme Disease Cases Up 320% in the U.S

10 per cent of those who contract the Powassan virus die, and another 50 per cent end up with some permanent neurological disability. The other 40 per cent survive.


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The sort-of-good-news is that the percentage of adult ticks carrying the sickness could be as low as 1 to 2 per cent across the U.S, and possibly only as high as 7 per cent.

Why haven’t we heard of the Powassan virus before? It isn’t until recently that scientists discovered the sickness in ticks that bite humans.

It’s been known to be around since the 1950s, but only now has it been found in deer ticks.

Follow this detailed advice from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how to protect yourself and stay safe.

Symptoms of the Powassan virus include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Speech difficulties
  • Seizures

Seek medical advice immediately if you think you, or someone you know, has it. For a look at which states have been hardest hit, click here.



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