2 new viruses in Manitoba

As tick season heads into full swing in Canada, officials in Manitoba are warning the public that Lyme disease isn’t the only thing to be on the lookout for.

Manitoba Lyme Disease lists 14 illnesses associated with tick bites, but health authorities in the province say two emerging viruses should be of particular concern for the region: Borrelia miyamotoi and Powassan disease.

Powassan disease, also known as the deer tick virus, is known to cause vomiting, seizures and even long-term neurological problems, among other symptoms.

Symptoms of Borrelia miyamotoi are similar to Lyme disease and include fever, chills and headache. Unlike Lyme disease, rashes are uncommon.

“You treat it with the same as for Lyme,” Dr. Richard Rusk, medical manager of communicable diseases at Manitoba Public Health, told CTV Manitoba. “Our protocol says if you are suspicious of Lyme disease, you start treating it.”

Both diseases can be transmitted to humans through blacklegged ticks.

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