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IPFS News Link • Pennsylvania

Disease-carrying deer ticks in Pennsylvania park can spread potentially fatal neurological virus...

•, by: Zoey Sky

In January 2022, a Pennsylvania park recorded the highest-ever concentration of ticks carrying a variant of deer-tick virus (DTV).

DTV may cause deadly infections with lasting neurological effects. Officials have also expressed concern that deer-tick virus and other serious tick-borne illnesses may become more common in the future.

Black-legged ticks spread Powassan virus

Infected female black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) that bite humans transmit Powassan virus. Between 2008 and 2017, the majority of Powassan virus cases were diagnosed in and around the Great Lakes region.

The virus has two lineages, one of which is the eer-tick virus. It was first identified in 1952.

Many cases of Powassan virus are asymptomatic, but symptomatic cases can be deadly, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Powassan virus may cause initial symptoms like fever, headache and vomiting. The most severe cases can involve neurological complications such as encephalitis or inflammation of the brain and meningitis.

According to data, at least one in 10 neuro-invasive cases of Powassan virus are fatal. At least 50 percent of the survivors of these cases experience long-term neurological health impacts.

Ticks sampled tested positive for DTV

In a statement, Secretary Patrick McDonnell from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) warned that the infection rate of ticks sampled from the Lawrence Township Recreational Park is "extremely high."