Rare, deadly tick-borne disease Powassan found in Pa. and NJ

WPVI logo
Friday, May 5, 2017
Rare, deadly tick-bourne disease found in Pa. and NJ
EMBED <>More Videos

The Powassan virus attacks the nervous system and can be deadly. Monica Malpass reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on May 4, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Tick season is here and experts warn this year could be one of the worst yet.

A rare disease called Powassan is spread by the same tick that carries Lyme disease.

Powassan attacks the nervous system, affecting memory, thinking, and balance - and it can be deadly.

The virus is spread through deer ticks and there is no treatment for it.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the states with cases of Powassan virus. However, the biggest number of cases reported to the CDC in recent years have been from Wisconsin, Minnesota and New York.

"There is no treatment so there is a difference between Lyme and Powassan. Its just supportive measures for somebody and about 10-15% of people that do get infected do have life-long neurological conditions afterward," said nurse, Kristi Kromholz.

Experts and many doctors say they are seeing more tick activity earlier this year.

If you go into woods or high grass, be sure to wear insect repellent with DEET, and check yourself from head-to-toe afterward. Also make sure to protect and check your pets.


Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps