The Powassan virus claims a life in the US: everything you need to know about the virus
In an alarming case that has recently come to light, a deadly infectious virus, also known as the Powassan virus, has claimed a life in the United States. As stated by the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), an adult recently died after contracting the deadly virus, marking the first reported case of POW virus illness in Maine this year. . While Powassan infections are quite rare, infection has skyrocketed in recent years, especially in the US, Canada, and Russia, raising concerns globally. Two deaths were reported in Maine last year after the state recorded about 15 confirmed cases of the infection since 2015.
According to The Independent, up to 25 people are infected each year in the US, with the latest death marking the third POW-related death since 2015. While this has created a worrying situation for health experts , read on to learn about the infectious virus, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
About the Powassan virus and its cause
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Powassan virus is spread by the bite of an infected tick, such as a deer, groundhog or squirrel tick. Most cases are reported in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions from late spring to mid-fall, a time when ticks are most active.
Powassan Virus: Symptoms
– People in the initial days may experience symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting and weakness.
– The virus can also cause a brain infection (encephalitis) or form the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
– In severe cases, patients may experience confusion, loss of coordination, slurred speech and seizures.
Powassan Virus: Diagnosis
Those who are infected with the deadly virus should contact their health care provider, who, based on the patient’s signs and symptoms, will diagnose their condition through laboratory tests of blood and spinal fluid.
Powassan Virus: Treatment
While there is no specific medication to treat cases of Powassan virus infection, doctors often prescribe over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms, according to the CDC.
– Doctors prescribe absolute rest and add liquids to the diet of patients.
– Doctors also prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers to help with symptoms.
– Those with severe symptoms are often hospitalized for support with breathing, staying hydrated and reducing inflammation in the brain.