Officials Warn Of Dangers Of Tick-Borne Powassan Virus

Excerpted from CBS New York: (08/19/2013)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Poughkeepsie high school senior died suddenly, after he was bitten by a tick and contracted a severe virus.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Joseph Elone’s family said doctors had been treating their son for a summer cold – until he collapsed on the front lawn.

WEB EXTRA: CDC Information On Lyme Disease | CDC Information On Powassan Virus

Elone, 17, was actually a ticking timebomb. He was completely unaware that he had contracted an emerging and rare tick-borne disease.

Identified as Powassan virus, the disease is thought to be transmitted into the bloodstream within minutes of a tick bite.

“Powassan virus can enter the blood within 15 minutes, but this was a measure they learned using mice as a study, so we can’t know exactly how it works with humans and how quickly it works,” said Dr. Jody Gangloff-Kafuman of Cornell University.

Gangloff-Kaufman, who is also a pest scientist for New York State, showed CBS 2 the belly of a microbe-carrying infectious tick. She said the symptoms of Powassan can mimic those of the West Nile virus – leaving no telltale marks until the sudden onslaught of encephalitis.

Mosquito-borne encephalitis is what was thought to have killed George Cody of Carle Place, Long Island. But his widow, Barbara –- who will not leave home without long pants and sleeves and bug spray – has been wondering if ticks and Powassan played a role.

“We never saw markings on him–48 hours,” she said. “He just became catatonic, actually,”

Since hearing about the worrisome scourge of West Nile, and now Powassan, the Giambalvo family of Babylon has decided to take on changes.

“I went in the house screaming,” said daughter Sabina, who had suffered a bug bite.

For more plus the video: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/08/19/families-doctors-torn-over-lyme-disease/

~ by Rob on August 25, 2013.

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