The Pow Virus in Canada

by Jennifer Smith May 08, 2017

The Powassan Virus is a viral disease caused by deer ticks that is considered to be worse than the bacterium produced in Lyme Disease. Although relatively new to us, the tick-borne illness originated in Powassan, ON in 1958 when a tick bite from a child created unexplained neurological complications. Today, this virus can be transmitted to a human in just 15 minutes and can cause seizures, brain damage, permanent disability and death.

Here are some things to know about the Powassan (Pow) Virus, as we know it:

1) The Pow Virus works much quicker than the bacterium in Lyme Disease.

Pow works in just 15 minutes; whereas if someone has been bitten by a tick carrying Lyme, they will have 24-48 hours to remove the tick before the possible transmission.

2) There have been 25 reported cases of Pow in Canada since 2015...

Compared to 75 reported cases in the United States. The majority of Pow Virus reported tick cases is in the New England Area. (There were 800 reported cases of Lyme in Canada in 2016.)

3) The Powassan Virus has no treatment.

Researchers are working to come up with a treatment or cure; but they haven't been able to find one yet.

4) Symptoms are the same as Lyme Disease.

And, Lyme has flu-like symptoms.This is why tick-borne illnesses are often misdiagnosed. Tick bite patients will experience: Chills, a fever, a headache, memory loss, numbness and even facial paralysis.

5) How Can We Avoid the Powassan Virus and other tick diseases?

DeerbustersCanada encourages homeowners to install a deer fence to stop deer from entering gardens. Because deer ticks carry these tick-borne viruses, we must secure properties and protect families and pets from the threat of Lyme Disease. We suggest that you wear bright colors when outside to easily detect a tick and apply insect repellents to skin during hikes, bike rides, walks and camping trips.

Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith