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Published On: Fri, Jan 3rd, 2014

Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus

Just about everyone is familiar with the tickborne bacterial disease, Lyme disease; however, last month, a Knox County, Maine woman died after a several week long battle with a tickborne virus many people are unfamiliar with called Powassan virus.

Ixodes cookei and Ixodes scapularis Image/CDC

Ixodes cookei and Ixodes scapularis
Image/CDC

I had the opportunity to talk to the Director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr Sheila Pinette, to learn more about this sometimes lethal, albeit quite rare infection (Listen below).

During our discussion, Dr. Pinette explained what Powassan virus is and the symptoms associated with an infection with Powassan– fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures. The virus can cause some serious neurological symptoms, Pinette noted.

She also explained that in Maine, Powassan is transmitted by two types of ticks–the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, which many are familiar as the vector for Lyme disease, the parasite Babesia and anaplasmosis. It can also be transmitted by the woodchuck tick, Ixodes cookei.

The infection is pretty rare, about 50 cases in the US in the past decade, Dr Pinette noted. However, it does have a fatality rate of around 10-15%.

Related story: Chuck Schumer Calls On The CDC To Increase Research On Powassan Virus, Other Tick-Borne Diseases

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Lyme disease, Babesia down significantly in Maine so far in 2014 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] LISTEN: Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus […]

  2. Tickborne diseases: It’s not just Lyme dise… – The Global Dispatch | Everyday News Update says:

    […] LISTEN: Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus […]

  3. Tickborne diseases: It’s not just Lyme dise… – The Global Dispatch | Tray News says:

    […] LISTEN: Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus […]

  4. Tickborne diseases: It’s not just Lyme dise… – The Global Dispatch | Round the World says:

    […] LISTEN: Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus […]

  5. Tickborne diseases: It’s not just Lyme disease - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] LISTEN: Maine CDC Director, Dr Sheila Pinette discusses Powassan virus […]

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