Treatment of Powassan virus disease

Learn how Powassan virus disease is diagnosed and treated.

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How Powassan virus disease is diagnosed

Diagnosis is based on a combination of:

  • signs and symptoms
  • history of possible exposure to infected ticks
  • laboratory tests of blood or cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid found in the brain and spinal cord)

Laboratory tests typically detect antibodies, in the blood or in the cerebrospinal fluid, that the immune system makes against Powassan virus.

How Powassan virus disease is treated

Most people who become infected with Powassan virus do not develop any symptoms, so treatment is not necessary. 

People with severe Powassan virus disease often will need to be hospitalized to receive:

  • intravenous fluids
  • respiratory support
  • medications to reduce swelling in the brain

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