However, scientists reveal that there is an even more dangerous virus than Lyme disease, and that is the Powassan virus, which cannot be treated and can be fatal. The Powassan virus can be transmitted, like Lyme disease, if a person is bitten by an infected tick.
If a person gets bitten by a tick that carries the Powassan virus, within 2-3 hours, that person will experience symptoms like nausea, headaches, muscle weakness, vomiting, speech difficulties and memory loss.
Although Lyme disease causes rashes and lesions, the Powassan virus does not cause these symptoms.
In severe cases, the virus will attack the person’s nervous system and which will lead to brain and spine inflammations, which will eventually lead to encephalitis meningitis.
Dr. Theodore Andreadis, a specialist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment, explained that the Powassan virus can cause very unpleasant symptoms, and although his organization is not trying to alarm people, it wants to raise awareness on this disease.
The virus is carried by 2-3% of the tick that carries also the Lyme disease, which is known as ixodes scapularis. In comparison, almost 40% of these ticks carry the Lyme disease.
But Powassan virus, unlike Lyme disease which can infect a person in a few days after the tick has attached itself to the person’s skin, can transmit the disease much faster.
Dr. Andreadis explained that if someone finds a tick attached to their skin there is a chance that by removing it, the person will not get infected. That is not the case with the Powassan virus because the tick will transmit it in a matter of hours.
Andreadis added that, unlike Lyme disease and other types of tick-transmitted diseases, the Powassan virus is immune to any known antibiotics and cannot be treated by it.
Those who get infected with this virus can only receive supportive care. Unfortunately, 10% of the cases can be fatal, the scientists say.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s very difficult to spot these ticks that carry the Powassan virus because they are very small, almost the size of a poppy seed.
The researchers worry over this because the tick likes to feed on the blood of the white-tailed deer, which is growing in population in the state of Connecticut, where Dr. Andreadis and his team are based.
Image Source: michigan.gov