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Deer Ticks Spreading New Disease

Deer Ticks

A new tick-borne virus, Powassan, which is spread by deer ticks, has recently been showing up in Minnesota, with six cases being reported in the last two years.  This virus can cause encephalitis and meningitis in humans, or inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, etc.  Symptoms can include   fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and memory loss. Signs and symptoms occur within one to five weeks of an infectious tick bite.  Check out Minnesota’s webpage for more information on POW.  

"When working in the woods, be sure to practice tick prevention by using products that repel ticks, tucking your pants into your boots, wearing light colored clothing so that you can easily see ticks to pick them off, and then, of course, do a tick check when you come in from the field or each night before you go to bed," reports Linda Williams of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Williams also offers an easy tip to rid your clothing of unwanted ticks:

"Here’s a helpful hint that my supervisor recently gave me, which I have recently tried and had great success with: after you’ve been in a tick infested areas, just throw your clothes in the dryer on high heat for a 5 minutes or so, then check the lint trap!  Dead ticks will be collected there and it might amaze you how many you’ve collected."

6 thoughts on “Deer Ticks Spreading New Disease

  1. Al

    I have heard of loggers here in MN, using dog flee and tick collars around their ankles. When they are done for the day, they will seal them in a zip loc bag for next time. I have not tried this yey myself, but i am going to.

  2. Christine Passalaqua

    I live in Kenosha County WI and hunt in Vernon County WI. A few years ago I was turkey hunting…a few weeks later I started having headaches and they wouldn’t go away…so I went to the doctor. Knowing I was an outdoors person he did a blood test for west nile virus…I got a phone call from the nurse that I had California Encephalitis and there is no meds for it and I just had to wait it out. I then got another call from the nurse stating that the CDC needed to confirm this. So I went for another test…it came back Powasson Virus. I was told that I was very lucky that I must have wiped the tick away before it really got me. Most people have severe symptoms and some don’t make it. They told me though that I was bit by a woodchuck tick, which of course I never heard of. They weren’t sure where I was bitten, home or hunting up north so they listed me for Kenosha County. My doctor never heard of Powasson virus and so we didn’t know what to expect. The headaches eventually went away. I consider myself very lucky that I moved at the right time and that the tick didn’t stick to me. We did some reading on it and found that this virus can paralyze a person and/or kill you. I still hunt, but I cover up better and also check myself better.
    I’m interested to find out on how the people in Minnesota are doing??? This tick is usually on the east coast and Canada..
    Also, I recently found an article about me and 2 others in the state of WI that were bitten and again found myself feeling lucky that I didn’t get as ill as the others.
    All I can say is to check yourselves when you are working or hunting in a wooded area.

  3. Jeff Knight

    Soundds like what has hit Missouri as well. A couple of folks I know nearly died as a result of tick bites. Gonna start stocking up on tick repellant!

  4. john

    Where I hunt at the ticks are bad on the deer population as well as us hunters that get in the woods with them.It has always been in the back of my mind that some day if not using some type of repellent that this would be a problem for me in the woods?

  5. Donnie Croslin

    I’ve had great success with the Rhino suit and Cabelas bug Skinz. I"ve found about a dozen ON me, but none attached…ever.

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