Call Us At 877.507.0698
Forward Thinking Pest Control

Call Us At 877.507.0698
Forward Thinking Pest Control

EHS Pest Control

EHS Pleasant Street Wildflower Project

BARNSTABLE – A new, and potentially deadly deer tick virus has been found across Cape Cod.

A spring study by Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst conducted surveillance for Powassan virus at six locations on Cape Cod.

The virus was detected in Falmouth, Brewster, Orleans and Truro.

Powassan is a rare disease that is transmitted by the bite of a black legged tick, which is also known as a deer tick.

Since the beginning of 2013 the Massahcusetts Department of Public Health has received just nine reported cases of the virus in the state, occurring in Barnstable, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk Counties.

The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Deer Tick Program Coordinator and Entomologist Larry Dapsis said Powassan is a lot like the West Nile virus.

“A lot of people may be exposed to the virus and not get sick at all,” Dapsis said. “In the rare instances where this thing takes another pathway into your body, into your nervous system, then it can be quite serious.”

Some may become severely ill with meningitis or encephalitis. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties and seizures.

About 10 percent of people infected with this severe form of the virus die and survivors may have long-term health problems.

There is no specific treatment for the virus other than supportive care, rest and ingesting fluids to prevent dehydration.

Dapsis presented the results of the study to county officials Wednesday.

The first discovered case of the virus was found in Powassan, Ontario in 1958.

“For years, most of the cases were in the upper-central Midwest,” Dapsis said.

About 10 to 12 years ago the virus started popping up in the Northeastern part of the country, mainly in Eastern New York in the Hudson Valley area.

“So it got our attention. I was kind of looking over my shoulder wondering when is this going to get here,” Dapsis said. “Well, it’s here.” Dapsis said the usual precautions that are advised to prevent the normal tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, will also help protect against Powassan.

Some of the actions that should be taken include tick checks, placing clothing in the dryer for twenty minutes and the routine use of EPA registered repellents.

For exposed skin, deet-based products, or alternatives like picaridin are recommended.

“Our three point mantra is protect yourself, protect your yard and protect your pets,” Dapsis said. “The top of my list for personal protection is daily tick checks and the use of Permethrin-treated clothing and footwear – hands down the most effective tool in the box.”

Ticks can also be tested for the presence of Powassan in addition to all of the other major pathogens at the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass-Amherst.

If you want to get rid of ticks safely, call EHS Pest.


Super Service Award 2017
ript src="/javascripts/foundation.min.js">