Maine CDC experiences loss of life from publicity to uncommon tick-borne Powassan virus
A Sagadahoc County resident has died from publicity to the Powassan virus, a uncommon tick-borne sickness.
The grownup developed neurologic signs after being uncovered and died in a hospital, the Maine Heart for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned Wednesday. No different figuring out info was accessible, which is typical in these instances.
That is the state’s first case of Powassan virus this 12 months. The CDC has tracked lots of of instances of extra widespread tick-borne ailments comparable to Lyme illness, anaplasmosis and babesiosis thus far in 2023.
Powassan is exceedingly uncommon – solely about 25 instances are reported yearly in the whole U.S. – however it may be severe. Since 2015, Maine has recognized 15 instances, together with 4 final 12 months. There have been two different deaths lately. One was a Waldo County resident in April 2022, and the opposite was a longtime Portland educator who contracted the virus in 2019 and died in January 2022. Her household disclosed the reason for loss of life in her obituary.
Powassan virus is acquired by the chunk of an contaminated deer tick or woodchuck tick, the CDC mentioned. Tick season is effectively underway in Maine and consultants predict vital exercise after final 12 months, when a report 2,617 instances of Lyme have been reported.
Griffin Dill, an built-in pest administration skilled for the College of Maine Cooperative Extension’s tick lab, told the Press Herald last month that though this 12 months’s tick season began slowly, he doesn’t count on a drop-off.
“I don’t count on we can have a decrease season general, only a barely slower begin to the season,” he mentioned. “There are a myriad of things that would negate this sluggish begin, so it’s arduous to say whether or not a barely later begin to the spring goes to noticeably influence tick populations.”
The CDC urges individuals to take precautions when spending time open air, comparable to avoiding leaf litter, carrying lengthy, light-colored pants that make recognizing ticks simpler and staying on paths when strolling within the woods. Conduct tick checks for those who’ve been in tick habitat. An grownup deer tick is the dimensions of a sesame seed, whereas nymphal deer ticks are the dimensions of a poppy seed, in keeping with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
Many individuals contaminated with Powassan don’t develop signs, however for some it may well result in severe neurologic issues, comparable to mind or spinal twine irritation. About 10% of people that develop extreme signs die. There isn’t a treatment for treating Powassan, however individuals with extreme instances are sometimes hospitalized and obtain help for respiration, hydration and decreasing mind swelling.
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