A five year old baby in Griswold contracted Connecticut’s first case of Powassan virus. It is believed that he contracted the disease from a tick brought into the house by another member of the family.
Powassan virus is a very serious, tick-borne disease. Unlike Lyme disease, which typically takes 24 hours from the attachment of a tick to infection, Powassan can be transmitted to humans in 15 minutes. Worse, 10% of all Powassan cases are fatal and another 50% of those infected experience permanent brain and nerve damage.
Heretofore, Powassan Virus has not been much of a concern. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has only recorded 75 cases in the past ten years, all in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of the U.S., but rising tick populations in Connecticut and elsewhere have officials concerned.
CT Ag Station Awarded 10M to Fight The Threat of Tick Borne Disease
To underscore the urgency, the CDC has awarded the New Haven Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station (CAES) a 10 million dollar grant to become the North East Center for Vector Borne Disease. The grant is to be used by the station to specificially study the tick borne diseases, Lyme, babesiosis, and Powassan along with a handful of others.
Connecticut Shows 10% Increase in Lyme Infection in 2017
Already the findings are alarming. In 2017, the CAES found 38% of all ticks studied to be infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, a 10% increase over last year. In Fairfield county, the Companion Animal Parasite Council reports that in 2017 17.49% of dogs tested were found to be infected with Lyme disease and 16.15% were infected with anaplasmosis.
% Dogs Testing + for Lyme In Fairfield County As of July 2017
% Dogs Testing + for Anaplasmosis In Fairfield County As of July 2017
How To Protect You and Your Pet
Chewable Tablets or Collars
If you are a dog or a cat owner living in Connecticut, year-round tick prevention is essential. At Brookfield, we believe that Simparica, an affordable and palatable monthly chew is most effective. A current manufacturer’s rebate of 15 or 35 dollars on 6 and 12 doses respectively makes it additionally appealing. For dogs that spend extra time outdoors, pet owners can add the protection of a Scaliber collar, a veterinarian approved product that repels ticks for 6 months.
Revolution is another excellent option and comes in safe affordable dosing for both cats and dogs. The manufacturer currently provides a buy-6-get-2-free promotion. Revolution is topically applied for 30 days of flea, tick and intestinal parasite protection.
As for Liam, the five year old boy that contracted Connecticut’s first case of Powassan virus, he is better, but still experiences some neurological issues on the right side of his body. Tick borne disease are a real, concerning threat to our pets and to us. Do what you can to keep everyone in your family safe.
Veterinary experts (including those of us here at Brookfield) have pondered the ‘why does my dog eat grass’ question for years. Here are our four best guesses based on published research and our own observations. This article contains info on the fascinating topic of Zoopharmacognosy, the concept that animals instinctively know how to self medicate!