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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for April 2017

MAY 08, 2017 | SARAH ANWAR

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

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common tick-borne infection in the United States is Lyme disease; however, another may be on the rise.
In November of last year, a 5-month-old male infant was diagnosed with Powassan virus, which caused him severe complications. Researchers described the case in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published April 21, 2017.
Powassan virus is an emerging tick-borne disease, and researchers are not yet aware how prevalent it is in humans in the United States. The CDC reports that from 2006 to 2015, there has been an average of 7 cases reported per year. It is believed that the virus is most often found in the Northeast, however, cases have been reported elsewhere.
On average, it takes 36 to 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease; however, the infant’s parents reported that, 2 weeks before the infant started presenting with symptoms, a tick had been attached to him for no more than 3 hours. The infant was reported to have been a “previously healthy male,” prior to experiencing fever, facial twitching, and seizures “that included rightward eye deviation and right arm stiffening,” for which he was hospitalized.
After several tests, and an MRI scan of the brain, which showed results consistent with encephalitis, the infectious diseases specialist suspected Powassan virus. After diagnosis and receiving seizure-controlling medications, the infant was sent home. However, the infant experienced complications again after a month of initial symptom onset.
This was the first case of Powassan virus reported in Connecticut. Healthcare providers in tick-endemic areas should consider testing for Powassan virus in patients who present with encephalitis.
Read more about this case here.
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