Powassan Virus Diagnosed in New England & Great Lakes Region

Posted by Mosquito Squad

June 12, 2017

Lyme disease is the most well-known tick-borne disease, and for good reason. Every year, there are estimated 300,000 cases across the United States. One tick-borne disease is popping up in New England and the Great Lakes region this year that you may not be familiar with: the Powassan Virus.

Still rare, the Powassan virus has been getting more news this year than in the past due to new diagnoses. The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Six different species of ticks are known to spread the virus, one being the deer tick which also carries Lyme. Powassan, however, can be transmitted much quicker than Lyme. An infected tick needs only minutes of attachment to infect a human with Powassan. It’s believe to take 24 to 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme. 

Powassan generally is a mild viral infection, but it can be life-threatening in some people. Symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting. Patients will not display the bull’s eye rash that is associated with Lyme which can make a diagnosis more difficult. In the worst causes it can cause encephalitis (brain swelling).

The best way to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases is to protect yourselves from tick bites. When hiking or spending time in areas where ticks are known to be active, wear long loose pants and long-sleeved shirts. Apply a tick repellent to the clothes and exposed skin and always check yourself for ticks. If you find one, remove the tick with tweezers and place in a plastic bag in case you need to have the tick tested for Powassan, Lyme or other tick-borne illness.

Mosquito Squad offers tick control treatments for the yard reducing properties’ tick population. It’s done in two stages. The first is through tick tubes. These are placed throughout the yard when nymph ticks are most active (early spring and late fall). Using mice as a carrier for the treatment, ticks are eliminated when they bite a field mouse (this will not harm the mice).

The second step is proactive tick sprays throughout the year. The treatment eliminates mosquitoes and adult ticks on contact and is applied to areas where ticks are known to harbor on residential properties. We suggest a seasonal package for ultimate protection.

If you want to decrease the tick population in your yard, please contact your local Squad.