As if we didn't have enough to worry about this summer! You've probably already heard the news that Lyme disease, the nasty infection spread through tick bites, will become more common this year. A "perfect storm" of factors including warmer weather and a growing tick population means extra caution is important if you venture into the woods this year.
But there's a lesser known disease that's also spread by ticks. It's potentially deadly, and researchers say the public should know what to lookout for.
Called the Powassan virus, this devastating condition causes encephalopathy, painful brain swelling which can leave you with permanent brain damage.
While the Centers for Disease Control believe there could be as many as 30,000 cases of Lyme disease each year, there have been just 75 reported cases of Powassan virus. It's most common in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but can be caught anywhere that deer ticks roam.
Researchers estimate that 2-4% of ticks carry the virus, but this is a small risk with a very big downside. Catching the Powassan virus can kill you, or seriously impair you for life.
To keep you and your family safe, experts recommend the same approach as avoiding Lyme disease.
Wear clothing with long sleeves/legs, avoid long grass and bushes, and wear tick repellent.
Be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms that gradually get worse, with confusion and difficulty speaking
This could be a sign of Powassan or Lyme disease, but you want to catch both of these diseases quickly.
Share this post to warn everyone about the Powassan virus!
[H/T: CBS News]