Connecticut reports first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What you need to know

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that the state has reported its first Povassan virus infection. Povassan virus is a rare disease that causes Lyme disease, according to a recent press release.

“The fact that a Connecticut resident has been diagnosed with the Povassan virus due to the disease underscores the need to take action from tick bites to late fall,” the doctor said. Manisha Jutani, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Health.

“Using a repellent, staying away from places where ticks can be found, and carefully checking for ticks when you are outdoors will reduce the chances of you or your children becoming infected with the virus.”

The Povassan virus, first discovered in 1958 in Povassan, Ontario, is spread from a black-legged or deer tick bite, commonly known as Ixodes scapularis, and can be transmitted within 15 minutes of a tick bite. According to the release, the onset of symptoms can last from a week to a month.

Unlike Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, it is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and is usually transmitted 36-48 hours after a black-footed tick bite. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Human infections caused by Povassan virus infection are recognized in the United States, Canada, and Russia, mainly in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, where ticks are most active in late spring, early summer, and mid-autumn. CDC.

In 2011-20, in addition to Connecticut, the following states reported cases to the CDC: Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.


Cases of Povassan are rare, reported to the CDC in 2020 by 20, but the number of reported cases is increasing, typically 30.00 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC annually, but the actual number may be close to 476,000 annually. by the agency.

People who work outdoors and engage in recreational activities in endemic areas of the virus are at higher risk of infection.

A Connecticut patient infected with the Povassan virus is a 50-year-old male patient who became ill in the fourth week of March after being bitten by a tick. He was later hospitalized with a central nervous system disorder, confirmed by laboratory evidence of antibodies to the CDC virus, but is now recovering at home, the health department said in a statement.

Most people infected with the Povassan virus develop flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, but some suffer from severe illness that affects the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain, according to the Department of Health.

Early signs of a serious illness include headache, vomiting, fever, and weakness, which can quickly lead to confusion, loss of coordination, speech problems, or seizures. Treatment is supportive care and therefore focuses on symptoms instead of specific medications aimed at the disease.

Approximately one in 10 cases of serious illness is fatal, and about half of survivors experience long-term complications.

Connecticut recorded 12 cases of the Povassan virus between 2017 and 2021, including three in 2021 and two out of 12 deaths, the report said.


Connecticut is known for tick bites, and the CDC has categorized it as a Lyme disease area by 2019.

Lyme disease was first diagnosed in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), William Burgdorfer linked the mysterious symptoms of symptoms such as rheumatoid arthritis to deer tick bites.

He discovered that a spiral-shaped bacterium called spirochete, which is carried by ticks, now causes a disease called Lyme disease. The spirochete at NIH was named Borrelia burgdorferi in its honor in 1982.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the first symptom of Lyme disease is a rash similar to “bull’s eye” so-called erythema migrants, but later can lead to joint pain and neurological problems.

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Blackleg mites carry not only Lyme disease and Povassan virus, but also other tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis, so you can be infected with more than one infection at a time by the CDC, called a co-infection.

Some tips for preventing tick bites include avoiding grassy, ​​bushy, or wooded areas, using mosquito repellents recommended by the CDC, checking for ticks immediately after an outdoor event, and taking a shower within two hours of entering a home.

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