Mainers are lucky to live among such beautifully unspoiled nature. But, all that nature means a whole lot of critters. Mostly we don’t mind when we see a bug or spider, but there’s one particular creature we’re always on the lookout for. Ticks keep us on our toes throughout the spring and summer. Lyme can be a huge problem and it’s more prevalent in Maine than in many other states in the country. But, Mainers are now reporting an additional disease carried by these bugs and it’s even more dangerous than Lyme. This is what you need to know.
Maine has 14 types of ticks, but just the deer tick carries Lyme. For a long time, we assumed that’s all we needed to worry about.
Deer ticks are tiny and almost unnoticeable when they’re in the nymph stage. That certainly adds to the stress of staying tick-free in the outdoors. But, in addition to the deer tick we may all want to be more aware of the woodchuck tick.
This tick carries the Powassan Virus, which is quite rare. There have been about 11 cases reported in Maine since 2000, but recent reports indicate that it’s made an appearance this summer.
Symptoms of Powassan include a fever, vomiting, general weakness, headaches, seizures and even memory loss. There could also be some long terms effects to including neurologic problems. It’s important to catch this fast.
While this disease is quite rare, it can’t hurt to take precautions. One of these is making sure your pets don’t bring ticks inside. While they can be treated to avoid tick-borne illnesses, they can easily bring ticks inside.
Also keep in mind that some of the more “famous” symptoms of tick-borne illnesses such as the bullseye rase only appear in about 30 percent of cases.
Both Lyme and Powassan are avoidable if you take the right precautions. When spending time outdoors always tuck your pants into your socks, wear long sleeves and even a hat. You can also try wearing light-colored clothes.
While Powassan might not be an immediately large threat to everyone, it takes just a few cases to keep us on our toes. Better to be safe than sorry.
A few months ago we told you that this year is predicted to be one of the worst when it comes to ticks. For a refresher on what ticks carry and how to stay safe, check out the article here.
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