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.

Circumstances 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 keeping with The Washington Postmarking the primary U.S. demise in 2023.

Powassan is usually uncommon, however may cause critical sickness and even demise. It has been found in New Jerseyand circumstances 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 circumstances have been reported.

New Jersey has recorded 15 circumstances since Powassan was first found right here in 2013, together with two final 12 months. At the 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 risk by the mid-fall, in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A warming local weather helps gasoline the rise, permitting ticks to broaden 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 thought 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, however, wants solely quarter-hour.

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

Indicators of extreme illness embody confusion, lack of steadiness, bother talking and seizures, the CDC says.

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

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

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

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

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