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4/21/2015 - Powassan Virus Disease Information

Recently there have been several stories in the media regarding Powassan Virus Disease, a rare but serious tick borne disease. According to the CDC, the have been 64 cases of the disease in humans from 2004 - 2013 with 57 of those cases occurring in Wisconsin, Minnesota and New York.  There have been no cases in Connecticut but the virus has been found in ticks in CT since 2008 and to date have only been found in Bridgeport and North Branford.

While there is no specific vaccine to prevent the disease or medicine to cure it there are steps that can reduce the chance of getting infected with Powassan virus.  The best way to prevent POW virus disease is by protecting yourself from tick bites. You can do this by:
 

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 examine clothing, gear and pets.

For more information go to http://www.cdc.gov/powassan/index.html

For CT information  see CT Epidemiologist Newsletter from August 2014 - page 15: http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/infectious_diseases/ctepinews/vol34no4.pdf