I've seen more ticks this season than in recent memory. As if that's not creepy enough, there's are dangerous and deadly ticks that carry a brain swelling virus. Great!

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Health officials say it's worse than Lyme disease. It's the Powassan virus and it can be deadly. In years passed, New Jersey residents have been infected. One man even died.

This potentially deadly virus attacks the nervous system and rapidly affects one's memory, thinking, and balance.

Lone star or seed tick on finger

There's no vaccine for the Powassan virus. Rapid brain swelling after infection will cause long-term neurological damage.

Here are some important facts from the CDC about Powassan:

  • Many people who become infected with the Powassan virus do not develop any symptoms.
  • The incubation period (time from tick bite to onset of illness) ranges from about one week to one month.
  • POW virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
  • Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures.
  • Approximately half of the survivors have permanent neurological symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, muscle wasting, and memory problems.
  • Approximately 10 percent of POW virus encephalitis cases are fatal.


  • There are no vaccines or medications to treat or prevent POW virus infection.
  • If you think you or a family member may have POW virus disease, see your health care provider for evaluation and diagnosis.
  • Persons with severe POW illnesses often need to be hospitalized. Treatment may include respiratory support, intravenous fluids, and medications to reduce swelling in the brain.
tick insect warning sign in forest

Take Precaution!

  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Repel ticks on skin and clothing
  • Use a repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
  • Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

Live Long and Tick-Free! These Are the States Where People Live The Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.

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