Deadly tick-borne virus is on New Jersey’s radar

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By Dino Flammia | New Jersey 101.5 | Health and Wellness
According to state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan with the New Jersey Department of Health, there was one confirmed case of Powassan virus in 2013, and one in 2014. The 2013 case resulted in a fatality. About 60 Powassan infections have been reported nationwide over the past decade.

“We have the deer tick here in New Jersey, and that is one of the vectors that can actually be a reservoir for the Powassan virus,” Tan said.

If bitten by an infected tick, some victims may show no symptoms of the virus and would require no treatment. But Powassan also has the potential to cause severe symptoms such as fever, vomiting, weakness, loss of coordination and memory loss.

“POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis and meningitis,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states. “Approximately 10 percent of POW virus encephalitis cases are fatal.”

Persons with the worst symptoms, according to the CDC site, need to be hospitalized for treatment such as respiratory support and intravenous fluids.

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