We are all aware of the dangers that ticks carrying Lyme disease pose to our families. This year, health officials say an even more dangerous tick-borne disease has reached Pennsylvania. This rare virus is called Powassan, or POW, and is carried by the same deer ticks known to carry Lyme.
Powassan virus can affect the nervous system and cause meningitis or inflammation of the brain. The incubation period can last anywhere from one week to one month. Though many infected with Powassan show no symptoms, some symptoms can include:
- Confusion or weakness
- Speech difficulties
- Memory loss
There is no vaccine to prevent it and treatment can often require hospitalization to reduce brain swelling. In some cases, Powassan can be deadly. Infection with Powassan is very rare, but the reported number of cases has increased in recent years and 2017 is expected to reach very high levels of tick population. So far, the state of Pennsylvania has reported one confirmed case.
Prevent Powassan in Your Home
The CDC has not specified areas of the state where Powassan is more likely, but in the Southeast we are accustomed to deer ticks. You should regularly check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks and avoid walking under trees or through brushy areas where ticks might hide.
Of course, the best way to protect your home is to prevent ticks from entering your yard. At Mission Mosquito, we use a plant-based solution on your property. It repels fleas and ticks and after a drying time of about two hours, is perfectly safe for kids and dogs. For more information on our tick control service, click here.