Lyme disease and deer ticks are a part of life here in Massachusetts. With so much difficulty surrounding the topic of Lyme and the increase in cases each year, it is easy to see how other tick-borne diseases don’t get enough attention. NPR reports that there are 11 other diseases carried by ticks that are also steadily spreading. Diseases like Powassan virus, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis can leave you with flu-like symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose.
AN ALMOST DEADLY MASSACHUSETTS POWASSAN CASE
West Barnstable, Massachusetts resident, Tucker Lane gives his first-hand account of dealing with Powassan. He explains that having grown up on Cape Cod, tick bites were part of life and he didn’t think twice about pulling off a tick and going on with his life.
It all started with a severe headache that got worse and worse, followed by tremors and cold sweats. With a high fever, vomiting and double vision he went to the doctors but had no improvement. He ended up having to go by ambulance, but doctors thought he was suffering from drug-related withdrawals, so they did not treat him.
After conducting brain scans that showed swelling, all while Tucker was beginning to lose consciousness, his doctors rushed him to Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He went into a coma within 48 hours after. He was suffering from encephalitis, but the doctors did not know what was causing the infection. However, Tucker’s mother having grown up in Cape Cod knew it had to be tick-related, but this was completely different than Lyme disease which she was most familiar.
Tucker was in a coma for a week before he began a tremendous recovery. He had Powassan virus, a tick-borne disease that is deadly in 10% of the cases. Those who recover from encephalitis from Powassan have about a 50% chance of suffering permanent neurological damage.
While the Powassan virus is extremely rare, it is spreading, and it is very dangerous. Preventing tick bites is the number one thing you can do to limit your risk for any tick-borne disease. At Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham, we offer the best tick control treatments for your yard so you can enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle without the worry. Call today to get a free quote for your property.