Doctors across the U.S. are issuing warnings about a new and potentially deadly tick-borne illness spreading across the country like wildfire.
KGW reported that the disease is called the Powassan virus, and it’s spread by the same tick that carries Lyme disease. Doctors have warned anyone who plans to spend time outside this summer to take notice of this potentially deadly illness.
The Georgia Department of Health stated that though no cases of Powassan virus have been reported yet, that’s likely to change very soon.
“We haven’t seen Powassan yet, but to be completely honest, we haven’t been testing for Powassan,” Dr. Taz Bhatia said. “So now that it’s on our radar, if it matches to those symptoms of fever, vomiting, weakness, we’ll be looking for it and testing for it, and seeing what we can do.”
“Powassan virus might be a more serious, more deadly version of Lyme disease,” Bhatia added. “It can cause meningitis, which is an infection of the brain, it can cause encephalitis, which is a swelling of the brain, and it’s often associated with a fever, or vomiting, weakness.”
There is no cure for the Powassan virus.
“If you see a tick on you, you can use very thin tweezers to remove the tick in its entirety, the whole tick, and then save it in a plastic bag,” Bhatia said.
The doctor went on to say that these are three things you can do to protect yourself from this virus when going outside:
1) wear insect repellent, particularly a brand that has the chemical picaridin in it.
2) wear long sleeves and pants
3) avoid areas entirely that have heavy brush or long, unkempt grass – that’s where you’re most likely to get bit.
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