There has recently been three cases of Powassan Virus identified in Saratoga County, New York. Infected ticks transmit Powassan (POW) virus to people. Many POW infected people do not develop any symptoms; but those who do develop symptoms, often include fever, headache, loss of coordination, and seizures. POW virus can lead to more severe symptoms including swelling of the brain and spinal cord and in a few cases, death does occur. POW virus is rare with only 26 cases seen in New York from 2004-2016. “There has never been a documented case of Powassan virus in Schuyler County or any of the Western Region of NYS, but we remain alert to its presence in the state and are working with local health care providers to monitor our community”, says Schuyler County Public Health Director, Marcia Kasprzyk. The best protection from POW virus and any tick related infections is reducing your risks for exposure to ticks.
Prevention is key! The best protection from POW virus and all tick related diseases, like Lyme, is to eliminate your exposure to ticks. Protection includes applying a DEET repellant before spending time outdoors, wearing long-sleeved, light colored, breathable clothing and tucking your pants into your socks, and staying on trails to avoid brush and leaves. When you come in from outdoors it is important to shower and check for ticks on your body and clothing.
Powassan virus is primarily seen in the northeastern part of the United States. New York, Minnesota and Wisconsin have seen the highest number of cases.
Schuyler County Public Health's mission is to protect and empower the community to be safe, healthy and prepared. Schuyler County Public Health’s vision is a connected community of healthy people and safe places.
For more information, visit Schuyler County Public Health online at www.schuylercounty.us/publichealth or follow Schuyler County Public Health on Facebook and Twitter.