Here’s what you need to know about the emerging disease.
Doctors say that some ticks are now carrying a rare and deadly virus that has no known cure. The Powassan virus, a disease with symptoms that are similar to Lyme disease but more severe, has been found in ticks in the Northeast and the Great Lakes Region, according to CBS News.
If bitten by a tick infected with Powassan, the symptoms could come on very quickly.
“You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck,” said Dr. Daniel Cameron, president of the International Lyme Disease and Related Diseases Society. “It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention say that they’ve found most of the ticks infected with Powassan primarily during the late spring, early summer and mid-fall when ticks are most prevalent.
Although, Powassan is considered extremely rare. There have been only 50 cases of the disease reported in the U.S. over the past 10 years. Alternatively there are 30,000 cases of Lyme disease reported annually in the U.S.
With the emergence of this new disease, it’s worth taking extra precautions when you spend time in the woods this spring, summer and fall. Before you head into the woods or brushy areas, be sure to wear bug spray, pants and long sleeve shirts, and always check your body for ticks.