Beware An Increase In Ticks In Upstate New York This Summer
The past winter was mild for the most part, which is expected to lead to an increase in mice, deer, and ticks. As a parent here in Upstate New York, I am particularly worried about ticks.
My daughter is a healthy active child that loves to be outside. We've all learned to fear Deer Ticks because they carry Lyme disease. Well, it turns out there's even greater reason to fear them now. Recently, some Deer Ticks have begun to also carry the Powassan Virus which causes the brain to swell.
According to Today.com the Powassan Virus was not always a concern because the primary tick that carries it is not known to bite humans. That has all changed and now humans especially in the Northeast or at risk. Powassan causes inflammation of the brain and can lead to death or permanent disability in up to 60 percent of cases. Here's the kicker, there's no real treatment. Doctors can only provide "supportive care" until your own body fights it off.
From 2006 to 2015, 16 of the total 75 severe cases were reported in New York by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Powassan virus attacks the part of the brain that keeps you awake, keep your heart rate steady and your breathing drive going," Symptoms of Powassan virus include fever, headache, loss of coordination, trouble speaking, and even seizures.
The list of cases through 2015, per the CDC include: Maine (2); Massachussetts (8), Minnesota (20), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (3), New York (16), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1) and Wisconsin (16).