Powassan Virus makes an appearance in Fairfield County


Recently, ticks carrying the potentially deadly Powassan virus have been found crawling in Bridgeport and Branford.

“Of course it’s scary for any disease to be so near [to us],” Camila Meyer-Bosse ’17 said. “But, there isn’t much we can do.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who become infected with the Powassan virus may not have any symptoms. However, the symptoms that have been reported mirror those of Lyme disease. The major difference between the two though is that Lyme disease can take a matter of two days to contract, while the Powassan virus can be contracted within a few hours.

Despite that there have been no reported cases in the region of  humans contracting the virus, school nurse Sandra Resnik stated the importance of people being aware of themselves and their surroundings in regard to ticks.

“If you do get bitten, then go have it tested and consult a doctor just to be sure [you haven’t been infected],” Resnik said.

Jonathan Alter ’17, an aspiring scientist, has done a bit of research into the Powassan virus.

“Scientifically stated, this particular tick is serving as a vector for the virus. Some might attribute this to a lack of species biodiversity within southwestern Connecticut, as conveyed by an ability for this virus’ potential to spread via its host,” Alter said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 101 people in the past 10 years have been reported to have contracted this virus. Nearly all of these cases were contracted in the spring through fall when ticks are the most active.

“It’s important to be aware and to check yourself once you come in from outside, and even have someone else check places you can’t necessarily see,” Resnik said.