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Connecticut reviews its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know

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The Connecticut Division of Public Well being introduced the state’s first reported Powassan virus an infection of the yr this previous Wednesday. Powassan virus is a uncommon illness unfold by the identical tick that causes Lyme illness, in response to a latest press launch. 

“The identification of a Connecticut resident with Powassan virus related sickness emphasizes the necessity to take actions to stop tick bites from now by way of the late fall,” mentioned Dr. Manisha Juthani, who’s the commissioner of the Connecticut Division of Well being.

“Utilizing insect repellent, avoiding areas the place ticks are possible, and checking rigorously for ticks after being outdoors can scale back the prospect of you or your kids being contaminated with this virus.”

Powassan virus, first found in Powassan, Ontario in 1958, is often unfold by way of the chunk of an contaminated black-legged or deer tick, formally often called Ixodes scapularis, and could be transmitted in as little as 15 minutes after a tick chunk, however it could take per week as much as one month to develop signs, per the discharge. 

That is in distinction to Lyme illness, the commonest tick-borne illness in america, which is attributable to a micro organism often called Borrelia burgdorferi and often transmitted after 36-48 hours after the chunk of often the black-legged tick, in response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).

Human infections secondary to the Powassan virus infections have been acknowledged in america, Canada, and Russia, with the circumstances principally from northeastern states and the Nice Lakes area in late spring, early summer season and mid-fall when ticks are most lively, per the CDC.

Between 2011-20, along with Connecticut, the next states have reported circumstances to the CDC: Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.


Powassan circumstances are uncommon, with 20 reported in 2020 to the CDC, however the reported circumstances are growing, whereas often 30,00 circumstances of Lyme illness are reported to the CDC annually, however the true quantity is probably going nearer to 476,000 annually due to underreporting, per the company.

Individuals who work outdoor and interact in leisure actions in endemic areas for the virus are at elevated danger of the an infection.

The Connecticut affected person who contracted Powassan virus is a male affected person in his 50s who began to really feel sick through the fourth week of March after a tick chunk. He was later hospitalized with a central nervous system illness with laboratory confirmed proof by the CDC of antibodies to the virus, however is now discharged and recovering at residence, in response to the well being division’s launch. 

Most individuals contaminated with Powassan virus will develop delicate flu-like signs or no signs in any respect, however some will expertise extreme sickness affecting the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal wire and mind, per the well being division.

Wood Tick on finger

Wooden Tick on finger

Early signs of extreme illness embrace headache, vomiting, fever and weak point that quickly progresses to confusion, lack of coordination, problem talking, or seizures. Therapy is supportive care, which suggests there isn’t a particular remedy directed in opposition to the illness, however as a substitute focused to signs. 

Roughly one out of 10 circumstances of extreme sickness are deadly, with an estimated half of survivors experiencing long-term problems. 

There have been 12 circumstances of Powassan virus from 2017 to 2021 reported in Connecticut, together with three in 2021 and two out the 12 that have been deadly, the discharge mentioned.


Connecticut is a state well-known for tick-bites, with the CDC categorizing it a high-incidence area for Lyme illness, as of 2019. 

Lyme illness was first described in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975 by a researcher, Dr. William Burgdorfer, who linked puzzling signs of rheumatoid arthritis-like signs with the chunk of deer ticks, in response to the Nationwide Institute of Well being (NIH). 

He found {that a} spiral formed bacterium, often called a spirochete, carried by the ticks brought about the situation now often called Lyme illness.  The spirochete was named Borrelia burgdorferi in 1982 in his honor, per the NIH.

An early symptom of Lyme illness is a trademark rash that appears like a “bulls-eye,” often called erythema migrans, however later can progress to joint ache and neurological points, in response to Mayo Clinic.


Blacklegged ticks not solely can carry Lyme illness and Powassan virus, but in addition different tick-borne illnesses like anaplasmosis and babesiosis, so it’s potential to get contaminated with multiple an infection on the identical time, referred to as a co-infection, per the CDC.

Some tricks to forestall tick bites embrace: avoiding grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, utilizing CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, checking for ticks instantly after an out of doors exercise and showering inside two hours of coming indoors, per the launch. 

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