ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) – The Powassan virus, though only 75 cases have been reported in the U.S. in the last decade, about half of them occurred in the Northeast. There were 16 cases reported in New York state alone.
The Powassan virus attacks the brain and the soft tissues surrounding it, causing them to become inflamed.
The virus is considered rare because it was only carried by a type of tick doesn’t usually bite humans, but experts say now the virus is being carried by deer ticks, which frequently bite humans.
Horseheads resident Donald McIlwain is camping with his wife and grandchildren this week at Park Station in Erin. McIlwain said they’re taking every precaution to protect themselves from ticks.
“We have insect repellent to put on when we’re going out and then we check them each time we come back from being out to make sure there’s no ticks or anything on them,” he said.
Chemung County Environmental Health Director Tom Kump said wearing the proper attire is essential as well.
“Wear the proper kind of clothing long sleeves long pants socks shoes,” Kump said. “So you’re not going to have a chance of or I guess you’re minimizing your chance of the fact that those ticks might get onto your actual skin and get a blood meal.”
Professors at Harvard Medical School said the virus can be…