MASSACHUSETTS warns residents of rare but serious TICK-BORNE POWASSAN VIRUS ~ RABID WOODCHUCK report from CT.

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Massachusetts 07/20/16 capecodextension.org: Media Release – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has received reports of nine cases of Powassan virus in Massachusetts residents since the beginning of 2013 . These occurred in Barnstable, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk Counties. Powassan virus is a rare but serious disease that is transmitted by the bite of a black legged tick, also known as the deer tick; the specific type of Powassan virus that occurs in Massachusetts is known as Deer Tick Virus. A research project was initiated this spring by Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst to conduct surveillance for Powassan virus in the deer tick population on Cape Cod at six locations. Powassan infected ticks were detected in Falmouth, Brewster, Orleans and Truro. Infection rates ranged from 2.5 – 10.5%.

pow-by-state-2004-2013Although most people who are exposed to Powassan virus likely never feel ill, others may become severely ill with meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties and seizures. Approximately 10% of people with this severe form of the disease will die and survivors may have long-term health problems. There is no specific treatment once infection with Powassan virus has occurred. Treatment consists of supportive care, rest and fluids to prevent dehydration. – For complete release see http://www.capecodextension.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Press-Release-_Powassan.pdf

Rabies:

400px-RK_0808_278_Marmota_monax_groundhog_ReinhardKraaschWCConnecticut 07/21/16 myrecordjournal.com: by Molly Callahan –   The Meriden Health and Human Services Department is warning residents to take safety precautions around wild animals after a woodchuck recently tested positive for rabies. Health Director Lea Crown said Meriden Animal Control responded to an incident recently during which a woodchuck in the Baldwin Pond area came in contact with a person. Animal control officers sent the animal to the Department of Public Health laboratory in Rocky Hill where it tested positively for rabies. – See http://www.myrecordjournal.com/news/meriden/meridennews/9124928-154/meriden-health-department-cautions-residents-after-rabid-woodchuck-discovered.html

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