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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of April 16, 2017

APR 22, 2017 | CONTAGION EDITORIAL STAFF

#1: Connecticut Reports its First Human Case of Powassan Virus 

Although Lyme disease may be the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, another tick-borne disease, Powassan Virus, is making itself known in many regions across the country; the effects of which appear to be concerning.
 
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently provided a report in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on a case of Powassan virus in a 5-month-old infant in Connecticut. The case was diagnosed in November of last year in a “previously healthy male” infant who presented with a number of unsettling symptoms. The parents of the infant indicated that he had been bitten by a tick—which latched on for less than 3 hours—2 weeks prior to the onset of the symptoms. According to the CDC, a tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more to transmit Lyme disease.
 
An average of 7 cases of Powassan virus are diagnosed in the United States each year. The virus is most prevalent in the Northeastern region of the United States, but states outside of this region have been reporting their first cases of infection. “It is not known whether this represents spread of the virus within the local tick population, or increased testing and recognition of the virus as a cause of human disease,” stated the authors in the MMWR.
 
The case in Connecticut is the first for the state. The CDC is recommending that healthcare providers who practice in areas known to be endemic for ticks, consider the possibility of Powassan virus in individuals who present with symptoms that are clinically compatible (such as encephalitis), and learn about the individual’s comprehensive tick exposure history.
 
To learn more about the symptoms the infant presented with and Powassan virus, click here.
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