10% Of New Tick-Borne Illness Cases Fatal

IOWA – An Iowa expert warns that with the mild winter it will be a bad year for ticks, and this year there’s a new tick borne illness to be aware of.

It’s called Powassan virus, there’s no cure and it could be deadly.

It can be carried by deer ticks, same kind that carry Lyme’s disease. Powassan can be transmitted in the first hour after a tick latches onto someone.

Symptoms are easily mistaken for the common flu, headaches, fever, nausea, and weakness. The virus is neurological and can also result in confusion, speech difficulty and seizures.

“Iowa has yet to see a case of Powassan fever, but we do have the ticks. So if we have the ticks, we’re always at risk, and since this is relatively new and spreading this could be on the very near future,” Dr. Ryan Smith, Professor of Medical Entomology at Iowa State.

If you’re diagnosed doctors can only try to reduce inflammation to the brain until the body eliminates the virus.

Ten percent of cases are fatal and for those who survive, experts say there can still be long term complications.

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