Report: Experts worry over deadly tick-borne virus

AP Photo/Victoria Arocho, File

(WFLA)—Experts are warning a serious, tick-borne illness may be emerging in the United States, according to

The site reports the Powassan virus, which is potentially life-threatening, is transmitted by the same deer tick that carries Lyme disease, but is far more rare and more deadly than the bacterium that produces Lyme disease—and it doesn’t have a treatment or a cure.

According to TODAY, the virus can cause inflammation in the brain, which has led to death or permanent disability in 60 percent of cases.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention has reported 75 instances of this disease. The majority of these cases were reported in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“The bottom line is that we should be very scared of it because nobody is safe from it,” said Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the division of neurological and inflammatory diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an assistant professor of neurology at the Harvard Medical School. “And it could be that it is emerging and will explode over the next few years.”

Experts say those bitten by an infected tick could get the virus within a matter of minutes.


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