Powassan Virus is Being Transmitted in Clusters in New England

Microscopic image of persistent Powassan Disease
Powassan Virus, credit: Canad. Med Assn. J. 5-2-64

Yale School of Public Health (Blair, J.) 4.11.23, published “Tick-borne Powassan virus is being transmitted in concentrated clusters in New England, Yale study says.” The article details a study that contributes a better understanding of the particulars relating to Powassan virus transmission and may be of aid to public health efforts to curb infections.

According to the article, the study (PNAS, Vogels, C.B.F., et al 4.11.23) uncovered how the spread of the virus seems to be highly contained, indicating that it is sustained in disseminated local hotspots with quite restricted mixing amongst hotspot sites. The researchers significantly expanded upon the scarce genomic information that scientists had attained prior to the study, enabling them to discover transmission patterns and dissemination, to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of the virus.

Decoding and analyzing the virus’s comprehensive genetic codes enabled the researchers to reconstruct its historical timeline in the region. They then projected when segments of the virus’s “family tree” deviated and were then able to determine how the virus progressed and where it was disseminated via its hosts.

The Yale article states, “Most people infected with Powassan do not experience symptoms, but for some, it can result in brain swelling and even death. There are currently no vaccines or treatments for Powassan virus infection. Prevention is primarily dependent on education and control.”

For more information:

Read the article on the Yale School of Public Health website.

Read the study in PNAS. 

Read more about Powassan virus.