First Fatal Case of the Powassan Virus for 2024

US Reports First Fatal Powassan Virus Case for 2024, Experts Alarmed

United States: The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has verified the first fatality attributable to the Powassan virus, a tick-borne malady, in Maine this calendar year.

The unfortunate demise has been reported in York County.

The preceding mortal occurrence from this arboreal pathogen in Maine was recorded in May 2023, claiming the life of Robert Weymouth of Topsham, who succumbed to complications arising from the infection, as mentioned by wgme.com.

The Maine CDC reports that the York County incident is one of three Powassan virus cases identified among Maine’s residents thus far in 2024. The other two cases emerged in Kennebec and Lincoln counties.

In different parts of the country, Powassan virus is still considered rare; there is one to three new cases per year on average in Maine and was between 20 to 50 cases between 2018 and 2023 as stated by Maine CDC.

Maine has reported seven infections of Powassan in 2023, and until now, 25 cases have been reported since 2014, with four cases proving fatal in the last ten years.

It can spread through the tick that transmits Powassan or through the woodchuck tick as well.

As for deer ticks, they are active any time of the year that temperatures go above freezing, however they are especially attributed to the spring, summer, and autumn months according to wgme. com.

The Powassan virus is an example of a virus that transmits from a tick to a human within 15 minutes of the tick biting the human.

The Maine CDC has an information that it is not unusual for Powassan virus to be contracted and many cases are undiagnosed or are mild without any symptoms. After one month of the tick bite, the affected individuals may develop several symptoms of the diseases and would require medical attention.

Affected individuals may show symptoms like fever, headache, and vomiting whereas some of the others signs include weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss.

Some of these may suffer from serious neurological sequelae like encephalitis or meningitis.

The Maine CDC puts the number of people with severe illnesses at 10%, and of this amount, a fraction of them die from the disease. Healthcare facilities targeted persons with weakened immunity status as they would be prone to severe symptoms. If any of the above are signs that develop after being bitten by a tick, it is necessary to seek the services of a doctor, as emphasized by wgme.com

To mitigate the risk of tick-borne illnesses, the Maine CDC advises the following precautions:

– Be aware of tick habitats and take preventive measures in areas where ticks are prevalent.

– Wear light-colored clothing that covers the arms and legs; ensure pants are tucked into socks.

– Utilize an EPA-approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on skin; apply permethrin to clothing.

– Perform daily tick checks after outdoor activities. Inspect family members and pets as well.

– Consult a veterinarian about tick prevention for cats and dogs.

– Upon returning indoors, remove clothing and place it in the dryer on high heat for 10-15 minutes before washing to eliminate any unattached ticks.

The health authorities have outlined that adhering to these guidelines can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting a tick-borne illness.

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