Minnesota leads the country in cases of a rare but deadly tick-borne disease

The disease can cause swelling of the brain and often proves fatal.
Publish date:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging health care workers to keep an eye out for Human Powassan Virus, a tick-borne disease that can cause neurological problems. 

Minnesota is atop the list of states where the disease, albeit very rare, has been found in the United States. Only 25 such cases were reported in Minnesota between 2007-2016, with Wisconsin close behind with 20 cases. 


Number of cases reported in Minnesota:  

  • 0 in 2007
  • 1 in 2008
  • 2 in 2009
  • 3 in 2010
  • 11 in 2011
  • 4 in 2012
  • 1 in 2013
  • 0 in 2014
  • 0 in 2015
  • 5 in 2016

That's actually a total of 27, which doesn't align with the 25 cases the map above shows, but either way it's tops in the country. 

Symptoms of the virus include: fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, oss of coordination, speech difficulties, seizures and swelling of the brain, the CDC says. 

Approximately 10 percent of people infected die, with half of the survivors experiencing permanent neurological issues like headaches, muscle wasting and memory loss. 

Today's Top Stories

The best donut shops in Minneapolis? It depends on who you ask

Big crowd welcomes the Wahlbergs to Mall of America

Again, the CDC is urging health care workers to watch for tick-borne diseases because they've been on the rise over the last decade, but there's still a less than one in 100,000 chance a person in Minnesota gets it. 

This map shows where cases have been reported between 2007-2016. The darker the purple the higher the chances are of getting it in a specific area, although the odds are still astronomical. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 10.58.23 AM

If you're working outdoors or spending extended periods of time outside for any reason, consider wearing long sleeves and pants when in tall grass, wooded and brush-filled areas. 

Next Up


Disease-carrying ticks moving deeper into Northland

Experts tell the Duluth News-Tribune it used to be rare to catch a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease north of Duluth, “but now it’s a fairly routine thing.” The Associated Press takes a look at a new map showing Lyme disease risk areas, and a video from Howcast can help you recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, which, if caught early, often doesn't turn into a debilitating illness.