A uncommon tick-borne sickness is spiking. Right here’s what to learn about this lethal virus.

A uncommon tick-borne sickness is spiking. Right here’s what to learn about this lethal virus.

Instances of a uncommon, tick-borne sickness that may trigger seizures and neurological points are rising as we enter the center of tick season.

Powassan virus killed a 58-year-old man in Maine final month, in response to The Washington Postmarking the primary U.S. dying in 2023.

Powassan is often uncommon, however could cause severe sickness and even dying. It has been found in New Jerseyand instances are rising throughout the nation.

In 2012, there have been solely seven infections within the U.S. In 2019, the quantity jumped to 39. In 2021, 23 instances had been reported.

New Jersey has recorded 15 instances since Powassan was first found right here in 2013, together with two final yr. At the very least 4 Backyard State residents have died of the virus.

Powassan normally seems within the Northeast and Nice Lakes areas within the late spring and poses a menace by means of the mid-fall, in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A warming local weather helps gas the rise, permitting ticks to increase their attain.

Three ticks are identified to hold the illness: the groundhog tick, the squirrel tick — each of which hardly ever chew — and the blacklegged or deer tick, which is understood to chew individuals and is frequent in New Jersey.

Powassan spreads extra simply than Lyme illness, a greater identified tick-borne sickness that requires 36 to 48 hours to switch after a chew. Powassan, then again, wants solely quarter-hour.

These contaminated with the virus additionally don’t all the time present signs, in response to the CDC. For many who do, signs can emerge in per week to a month.

Indicators of extreme illness embody confusion, lack of stability, hassle talking and seizures, the CDC says.

Roughly 10% of people that develop extreme sickness will die, and roughly half of those that survive severe illness can have long-term points like complications, muscle weak spot and reminiscence issues, the CDC notes.

Right here’s a breakdown of instances in New Jersey since 2013:

  • 2013: 1 case (1 fatality)
  • 2014: 1 case
  • 2015: 1 case
  • 2016: 0 instances
  • 2017: 4 instances
  • 2018: 1 case
  • 2019: 4 instances (2 fatalities)
  • 2020: 1 case (1 fatality)
  • 2021: 0 instances
  • 2022: 2 instances

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Spencer Kent could also be reached at [email protected].

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