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A Rare Tick-Borne Disease Is Infecting More And More People

We all know a little something about Lyme disease. First of all, having Lyme disease would be a nightmare. Also, Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease. However, there is another tick-borne disease with symptoms that are supposedly much worse than the symptoms associated with Lyme-disease. This tick-borne disease is known as Powassan, or POW. This viral disease affects the nervous system and can cause problems with information processing, loss of balance and severe nausea. Health officials have reported that many individuals within the state of New Jersey have recently contracted this virus.

Deaths can result from contracting POW. One individual in Minnesota was recently killed as a result of the brain swelling that occurs as a symptom of POW. POW mainly affects citizens of different northern states. For example, New York has had sixteen patients with POW, Minnesota has had twenty, and Wisconsin has had fifteen. POW is also recognized as a disease in Canada and Russia.

Health officials are concerned about how many people will become infected with POW this year. The unusually mild winter along with the high population of mice from last year could mean many more POW infected individuals. A single mouse can carry up to one hundred infected ticks on its ears and face, which should give you an idea as to how tiny these dangerous creatures are. Experts believe that the Hudson Valley region could see the most cases of POW this year. According to Jennifer Lyons, chief of the Division of Neurological Infections and Inflammatory Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, fifteen percent of the victims that contract POW will not survive. Those who survive are not always so lucky as half of all people who contract POW will go on to have long lasting neurological damage.

Are you worried about contracting POW where you live?