Connecticut woman dies of tick-borne Powassan virus

A Connecticut woman in her 90s died very last month from the tick-borne Powassan virus, the Connecticut Office of Public Health verified Tuesday.

The lady turned sick in early May perhaps with signs and symptoms together with fever, an altered mental point out, headache, chills, upper body soreness and nausea, the office said. She had a tick eliminated two months ahead of her signs and symptoms begun, and laboratory assessments showed she experienced antibodies for Powassan virus.

In April, a person in Maine also died of Powassan virus soon after currently being hospitalized with neurological indicators, according to the Maine Heart for Disorder Control and Prevention.

The virus spreads to persons by blacklegged ticks, also acknowledged as deer ticks, but humans can’t pass it to just about every other. Quite a few individuals who get infected don’t produce signs and symptoms at all. But in exceptional scenarios, Powassan virus can trigger a disorder characterized by brain inflammation or meningitis, the inflammation of membranes surrounding the mind and spinal cord.

The recent dying in Connecticut “reminds us that inhabitants need to have to just take steps to stop tick bites now by means of the late slide,” Manisha Juthani, Connecticut’s community health commissioner, stated in a news launch.

Because deer ticks are particularly lively from late spring to midfall, most Powassan conditions are recorded for the duration of that time. The arachnids can transfer the virus right after just 15 minutes of attaching to the overall body, Juthani explained.

In the U.S., the virus is commonly found in the Northeastern and Good Lakes areas, the place deer ticks are far more typical. The majority of cases recorded in the last ten years have been in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York.

U.S. Powassan situations have risen in excess of the past 10 years as deer ticks grew to become a lot more popular. The Facilities for Sickness Regulate and Avoidance recognized 20 Powassan cases in 2020, the past 12 months for which facts was accessible, and 39 circumstances in 2019. In 2011, by comparison, 12 scenarios were being recorded.

Eleven percent of the 194 circumstances documented in the U.S. from 2011 to 2020 had been deadly. Which is reliable with the virus’s all round fatality price of 10 to 15 p.c among the people who develop indications.

These who get unwell generally begin to sense indications a single week to one particular thirty day period immediately after they get infected. The illness usually commences with fever, headache, vomiting or weak point. From there, extra critical signs or symptoms can occur, like confusion, reduction of coordination, problems speaking and seizures. Additional than 90 per cent of the U.S. instances in the previous ten years included neuroinvasive sickness.

There are no vaccines or treatment options for Powassan virus, so health professionals typically deliver fluids, fever-cutting down prescription drugs or medicine to lessen mind swelling. Survivors might encounter extensive-time period signs these as recurring headaches, muscle mass weakness and memory challenges.

To prevent tick bites, the CDC endorses remaining away from wooded and bushy areas with tall grass and applying insect repellant in advance of activities like camping or gardening. Donning long sleeves and prolonged pants tucked into socks can also help, as can spraying garments and tenting equipment with solutions made up of the insecticide permethrin.

The CDC implies checking animals for ticks, spraying yards with pesticides and mowing the lawn routinely, as well.

Right after outside actions, it truly is ideal to shower inside two hours and wash garments in sizzling drinking water or dry them on higher warmth. The CDC advises examining your system for ticks appropriate absent soon after out of doors routines, specially close to the ears, armpits, stomach button, scalp, waistline, interior thighs and backs of the knees.

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