What is Powassan virus? The boy is suffering from a rare disease from a tick.


A three-year-old boy from Pennsylvania contracted the Powassan virus after being bitten by a tick.

Jonny Simonson was playing in a neighbor’s pool when his mother, Jamie Simonson, noticed a tick on his shoulder and quickly removed it with tweezers, as reported. today.

But about two weeks later, the youngster had to be picked up from nursery after feeling “moppy” and “miserable” and experiencing headaches and a loss of appetite.

Later he developed fever and was admitted to hospital. Although Ms. Samson told doctors her son had been bitten by a tick, he tested negative for Lyme disease, so they weren’t sure what was wrong.

Later tests diagnosed the three-year-old with meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues. After being treated with intravenous immunoglobulin, the boy recovered and was released from the hospital two weeks later.

But it was only after his release – and about a month after he was bitten – that doctors discovered he had been infected with the Powassan virus.

Now, her mother wants to raise awareness about the rare virus and how to prevent children from contracting the tick-borne disease.

What is Powassan virus and how is it spread?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Powassan virus is a rare disease that is transmitted to people by infected ticks.

The virus is rarely spread from person to person through blood transfusions, and it cannot be spread by coughing, sneezing or touching.

It belongs to a group of viruses that can cause infections in the brain or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, such as encephalitis or meningitis.

What are the symptoms of Powassan virus?

Most people infected with Powassan virus do not experience symptoms, but those who do experience symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and weakness.

If the virus causes a severe illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis, symptoms may include confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, and seizures.

Powassan virus has been found in the United States, Canada, and Russia. In the United States, it is found mostly in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.

The virus is very rare. In 2020, there were only 20 recorded cases, down from 39 cases recorded in 2019.

How is Powassan virus treated?

There is no specific treatment for Powassan virus, but people with severe disease are often hospitalized and treated to help with breathing and hydration, and to reduce swelling in the brain.

How to prevent tick bites

Although Powassan virus has not been found in the UK, some ticks in the UK carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis virus.

The NHS says people can avoid tick bites by doing the following:

  • Cover your skin and tuck your pants into your socks when walking outside.
  • Use insect repellent on your clothes and skin – products containing DEET are best.
  • Stay on clear roads whenever possible
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to see and brush off ticks.

How to safely remove a tick

The NHS has issued advice on how to safely remove ticks:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool. You can buy these from some pharmacies, vets and pet stores.
  • Hold the tick close to the skin.
  • Pull up slowly, taking care not to squeeze or crush the tick. Discard it when you remove it.
  • Clean the bite with an antiseptic or soap and water.

When to get help after a tick bite

There is less chance of getting sick after a tick bite. The NHS says people should only see their GP after a tick bite if they develop flu-like symptoms and/or have a round or oval-shaped rash.