Commercially Available Powassan Virus Testing
Is there a test for Powassan Virus?
Confirmation of Powassan Virus (POWV) can be determined through Coppe Laboratories’ IgG/IgM Powassan Virus Testing. It is the only commercially available Powassan Virus test on the market today. While the CDC and a few state laboratories provide Powassan IgM testing, Coppe Laboratories’ IgG/IgM testing is available to healthcare providers looking for answers when suspected past tick involvement causes neurologic disability and sometimes permanent cognitive impairment.ORDERING INFORMATION
Can Powassan Virus be confirmed?
Also known as Deer Tick Virus, the POWV test measures the patient’s antibody response to the virus. The EIA screen is highly sensitive and may be cross-reactive with other flaviviruses. Positive screens are followed by a highly specific immunofluorescent assay (IFA), confirming the detection of Powassan Virus.
Our Research: Powassan Virus as Co-pathogen and Concurrent Transmission
Can ticks transmit multiple co-infections in a single bite?
Dr. Konstance Knox, Founder of Coppe Laboratories in Waukesha, Wisconsin, co-authored a study in 2017 which was first to conclude that black-legged ticks, also referred to as deer ticks (I. scapularis), can carry and transmit both Powassan Virus and Borrelia burgdorferi in one single transmission.
- Powassan/Deer Tick Virus and Borrelia burgdorferi Infection in Wisconsin Tick Populations, July 2017, Vector-Borne Zoonotic Dis.
- Serologic Evidence of Powassan Virus Infection in Patients with Suspected Lyme Disease, August 2017, Emerg Infect Dis
In our 2018 study presented to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), co-infections were seen in 16% of patients in the selected cohort presenting with suspected tick-borne infection. Patients with serologic evidence of Borrelia infection had a 22% likelihood of POWV coinfection. The study concluded that symptoms of patients with POWV are not significantly different from patients with Lyme; therefore, laboratory testing is required for proper tick-borne disease diagnosis.
How long does it take for an attached tick to transmit Powassan Virus?
Powassan Virus can be transmitted to humans in as little as 15 minutes. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) researchers have found evidence that Powassan Virus and other flaviviruses reproduce in areas of the tick’s salivary glands, which may explain the short transmission time.
Powassan Virus Symptoms
Most Common Powassan Symptoms: No symptoms or mild symptoms
Symptoms may develop within one week to one month after Powassan Virus is transmitted according to the CDC, and most infected people are not aware of symptoms. Reported mild symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, and weakness.
Severe Powassan Symptoms are Neurological
Some infected people experience severe neurological symptoms such as confusion, lack of coordination, impaired speech, and seizures. As the virus travels to the nervous system, those with severe symptoms may further develop Powassan neuroinvasive disease causing encephalitis (brain swelling) or meningoencephalitis (swelling of protective tissue membranes outside the brain).
About fifty percent of survivors with neuroinvasive disease have long-lasting neurologic deficits. Ten percent of Powassan neuroinvasive disease cases result in death.
Long-term Consequences of Powassan Infection for Vast Majority Remains a Mystery
Can chronic neurological consequences occur in Powassan cases that had subclinical symptoms upon onset?
Most people infected with Powassan virus are not aware of symptoms or experience subclinical symptoms upon onset. As a result, they are not tested, so no information is recorded which examines the potential of long-term neurological consequences in this subset of the population.
What are the benefits of testing for Powassan Virus?
Although there is no curative treatment for Powassan Virus, confirmed diagnosis of past exposure is useful to healthcare providers looking for a cause of chronic neurologic disability. Following diagnosis, beneficial supportive therapies can be prescribed. Finally, confirmed diagnosis can also bring a great sense of relief to patients who have suffered symptoms for a long period of time without knowing the cause.
For more information about Powassan Virus and Coppe Laboratories’ Powassan IgG/IgM Testing with confirmation, please visit on our website Arthropod-Borne Diseases or click here for ordering instructions:ORDERING INFORMATION