New warning about a rare virus caused by ticks, Powassan virus

According to Stephanie Stahl of CBS Philadelphia, a rare virus spread by ticks is the subject of a recent alert, and it is not Lyme disease.

A tick bite was also a contributing factor in the life-threatening infection of a little kid from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Jonny, Jamie Simoson’s 3-year-old son, is getting better, she claims. He’s suffering from a serious Powassan virus infection.

Simoson stated, “Right now, he’s doing pretty well.

A few weeks before to Jonny becoming ill with a headache and high fever, she found a tick. She took him to the doctor, but when his condition worsened she went to the emergency hospital.

Meningoencephalitis was the cause of Jonny’s diagnosis.

Dr. Swathi Gowtham explained that encephalitis can cause the brain cells themselves to become inflamed, whereas meningitis causes inflammation of the brain’s covering. And this virus is capable of both.

According to Gowtham, care mainly consists of water, oxygen, and seizure drugs in the absence of effective treatments.

Doctors chose to administer IVIG therapy—a filtered antibody infusion from blood donors—to Jonny.

“What intravenous immunoglobulin is, it is other people’s immune system,” Gowtham said. “Jonny responded very well. Whether it is due to IVIG, I cannot really say, more studies need to be done.”

After almost two weeks in the hospital, Jonny was discharged. He receives physical, occupational, speech, and rehabilitative treatment.

Simoson observed that the man had some obvious left side deficiencies. “His speech has slightly deteriorated. Additionally, I would say that cognitively, he is not necessarily where he was. But we have every reason to believe that the advancement he has achieved will only continue.”

The family is also promoting awareness of ailments brought on by ticks.

“If we could just help one person get treatment sooner or recognize a symptom sooner or prevent the tick in the first place,” Simoson said, “everything that we went through would be worth it and he’s going to be OK.”

Using insect repellents, according to doctors, is the best defense against tick bites. Powassan virus is uncommon and difficult to diagnose. It’s found mostly in the Northeast.

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