In an alarming case that has recently come to the fore, a deadly infectious virus, also known as Powassan virus has claimed a life in the United States. As stated by the Maine Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), an adult recently died after reportedly contracting the deadly virus, thus marking the first reported case of POW virus disease in Maine this year. While Powassan infections are quite rare, the infection has spiked in recent years especially in the US, Canada, and Russia, raising concerns about the same at a global level. Last year, two deaths were reported in Maine after the state recorded around 15 confirmed cases of the infection since 2015.
As per The Independent, up to 25 people are infected every year in the US, with the most recent death marking the third case of POW-related death since 2015. While this has created a worrisome situation for health experts, read on to know about the infectious virus, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
About Powassan virus and its cause
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Powassan virus spreads by the bite of an infected tick like deer ticks, groundhog ticks, or squirrel ticks. Most cases are reported from the northeast and Great Lakes regions from late spring through mid-fall, a time when ticks are most active.
Powassan virus: Symptoms
– People in the initial days can experience symptoms of fever, headache, vomiting, and weakness.
– The virus can further cause brain infection (encephalitis) or form the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
– In severe cases, patients can suffer from confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, and seizures.
Powassan virus: Diagnosis
Those who are infected with the deadly virus need to contact their healthcare provider who on the basis of 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 for treating cases of the Powassan virus infection, doctors often prescribe OTC medicines for relieving the symptoms, as stated by CDC.
– Doctors prescribe complete rest and add fluids to patients’ diets.
– Doctors also prescribe over-the-counter pain medications to help with the symptoms.
– Those with severe symptoms are often hospitalised to receive support for breathing, staying hydrated, and reducing swelling in the brain.