Powassan (POW) virus causes a rare but serious disease and is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. It was first identified in 1958 and named after Powassan, Ontario, the town of its discovery.
Ixodes cookei, commonly known as the groundhog tick or woodchuck tick, is primarily responsible for transmitting POW virus. There is some evidence that infection can happen quickly, as soon as 15 minutes after a tick bite. Another type of POW virus is likely spread by deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks.
- Powassan Virus Fact Sheet
Symptoms, Risk, Treatment, and Prevention
- How to safely remove a tick
- More information
Try to remove the tick as soon as you discover it because prompt removal can prevent transmission of tick-borne diseases.
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers and firmly grasp the tick close to the skin. Avoid touching the tick with your bare hands
2. With a steady motion, pull straight up until all parts of the tick are removed. Do not twist or jerk the tick. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit disease-causing bacteria.
DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick. These methods are neffective.
Thoroughly wash your hands and the bite area
After removing the tick, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Clean the tick bite with soap and water or use an antiseptic such as iodine scrub or rubbing alcohol.
- Vermont Department of Health, Epidemiology Field Unit
1-800-640-4374 (in VT only), or 1-802-863-7240.