Tick Transmitted Illness Powassan Virus…10% cases are fatal


Many people who become infected with Powassan (POW) virus do not develop any symptoms.
The incubation period (time from tick bite to onset of illness) ranges from about 1 week to 1 month.
POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coördination, speech difficulties, and seizures Approximately half of survivors have permanent neurological symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, muscle wasting and memory problems. Approximately 10% of POW Virus encephalitis cases are fatal.

There are no vaccines or medications to treat or prevent Powassan Virus infection.
If you think you or a family member may have POW Virus disease, see your health care provider for evaluation and diagnosis.
Persons with severe POW illnesses often need to be hospitalized. Treatment may include respiratory support, intravenous fluids, and medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

What is the treatment for Powassan Virus disease?

There is no specific medicine to cure or treat POW virus disease. Treatment for severe illnesses may include hospitalization, respiratory support, and intravenous fluids.

How can I reduce chance of getting infected with Powassan Virus?
The best way to prevent POW virus disease is by protecting yourself from tick bites. There is no vaccine against POW virus.

Avoid contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass.
Apply insect repellents to bare skin, according to label instructions.
Repellents containing DEET can be applied to exposed skin, but only last a few hours.
Clothing and gear can be treated with permethrin, which remains protective through several washings.
Find and remove ticks immediately before they have a chance to bite and attach.
Bathe or shower (preferably within 2 hours after being outdoors) to wash off and find ticks on your body.
Conduct a full-body tick check. Parents should thoroughly check children, especially in their hair.
Also check clothing, gear and pets.


  1. I hadn’t heard of POW. Thanks for enlightening me. This would be a dreadful price to pay for enjoying the outdoors. It’s a reminder to be prepared and err on the side of safety and health.

    Liked by 1 person

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