NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s even worse than Lyme disease. Ticks in our area have been found to carry a rare, potentially life-threatening, virus.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, doctors have warned that the Powassan virus, a rare, tick borne illness could be serious. It doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.
“The doctor just has to support you during the acute illness and hope that you survive,” Dr. Daniel Cameron explained.
Dr. Cameron is the President of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. He said that if bitten by an infected tick you can get the virus within a matter of minutes, and while the symptoms are similar to Lyme disease, they are more severe.
“You can get seizures, high fevers, stiff neck. It comes on so suddenly that it’s the kind of thing people go to the emergency room for,” he explained.
Researchers with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said the Powassan virus is starting to show up in Bridgeport and Branford.
“I couldn’t imagine having something worse than this. It sounds really awful,” Lyme disease patient Jennifer Cirigliano said.
Cirigliano was diagnosed with Lyme disease 2-years-ago. The 15-year-old said it’s been a long road of recovery.
“I was getting scared that there could be seriously something wrong,” she said.
Now, with this emerging tick borne illness, doctors say be on the lookout.
“Be more vigilant about checking. I can’t stay indoors. Summer is the time to be outside,” one woman said.
Doctors said there are ways you can protect yourself. The suggested wearing pants and long sleeves outside, avoiding bushy and wooded areas, checking for ticks, and wearing bug spray.