IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


30th May, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • A tick-borne virus called Powassan virus has claimed its first victim in the United States of America.



  • Powassan virus disease (POWV) is a rare but serious illness caused by the Powassan virus.
  • It is part of the tick-borne encephalitis virus-complex.


  • It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected deer tick, groundhog tick or squirrel tick.
  • Ticks are external parasites that live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.
  • The virus can be transmitted with bites from altogether six known species of ticks; the following four species of Ixodes ticks: Ixodes cookei, Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes marxi and Ixodes spinipalpus and the ticks Dermacentor andersoni and Dermacentor variabilis.


  • It is named after the town of Powassan, Ontario, where it was identified in a young boy who eventually died from it.

Symptoms and Impact

  • Most people who contract the virus do not show any symptoms but people might face fever, headache, vomiting and weakness from one week to a month after being bitten.
  • Fever
    • Headache
    • Vomiting
    • Weakness
    • Seizures
    • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
    • Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
  • It can cause encephalitis, an infection of the brain.


  • No approved vaccine or antiviral drug exists.
  • Prevention of tick bites is the best precaution.


Q. Consider the following statements:

1.    Powassan virus is part of the tick-borne encephalitis virus-complex that can cause encephalitis, an infection of the brain.

2.    There are approved vaccine or antiviral drug for this Viral Disease.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?

(a) Only 1

(b) Only 2

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Answer: (a) Only 1