Dr. Howard Zuker, New York State Health Commissioner has declared on Tuesday that a rare, but fatal virus has been encountered in 22 ticks from 5 separate pools. Earlier this year, three cases of the Powassan virus were confirmed in Saratoga County.
The Powassan virus
The tick-borne illness has so far caused death in 10% of the cases in the U.S. State health regulators have been very careful since the beginning of the year. The extra surveillance has paid up since it found 2, 7000 ticks at 30 locations in Saratoga County. Five pools with a total of 22 ticks were positive for the virus. The virus has similar symptoms with the Lyme disease such as fever, vomiting, confusion, and headache. Symptoms can be so serious they could become life threatening.
So far 77 confirmed cases of Powassan virus have been recorded from 2006 to 2015. 8 cases ended in death. Prior to 2017, only 23 cases were confirmed in New York. The Powassan virus has also been discovered in the Hudson Valey and 5 cases were confirmed in 2004.
The Powassan virus and Lyme disease are very dangerous and threatening tick-borne illnesses and it seems that each year more and more cases are confirmed, especially in Hudson Valley and Long Island.
The State officials are concerned
Zuker has declared that the extra surveillance will continue long after the summer ends by collecting adult ticks from those sites and also taking samples of blood from hunter-killed deer. He also said that the state will publish all their data.
The hearing was also co-hosted by the Senate Health Chairman Kemp Hannon and Senator Sue Serino. R-Hyde Park has been the district with the highest rated of ticks with Lyme disease in the U.S.