Deer Tick Virus
(Powassan Virus Lineage II)
- Many patients will remain asymptomatic
- Some patients may have symptoms appear 1-4 weeks after initial exposure
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Serologic testing detecting the Powassan specific IgM antibody in serum or cerebrospinal fluid can be performed.
- Clinical presentation and risk of exposure are key factors taken into consideration when diagnosing.
- Certain characteristics found in cerebrospinal fluid may also assist in diagnosis, including:
- Abnormal increase in the amount of lymphocytes and granulocytes.
- Protein in cerebrospinal fluid may be elevated slightly with normal glucose levels
- Multiple tiny strokes may be visible throughout the parietal and temporal lobes when an MRI is performed
CDC Treatment Recommendation
- No vaccines or medications exist for prevention or treatment of Powassan virus infection.
- Medical professionals will typically treat symptoms to make the patient more comfortable.
- Severe symptoms may lead to hospitalization of an individual requiring respiratory support and medications to reduce brain swelling
- Powassan virus will be transmitted to human host within 15 minutes of tick attachment.
- Research has shown that macrophages and fibroblasts are initially targeted by the virus.
- Components of the tick saliva assist in reducing the immune response, assisting in the survival and spread of the virus.
- After passing through the skin and muscular layers, the virus will enter the blood stream and spread throughout the body leading to symptoms.