PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - It's the start of tick season and medical professionals are warning of new viruses you could catch.
"It's not something that we're used to hearing a lot about," said Jignasha Adhuria. She’s out enjoying a hot day like many others in Fairmount Park and sitting in grassy areas along Kelly Drive. Most not thinking too much about ticks even though it’s the start of the season for them.
"I don't really think a lot about it," said one man.
But medical professionals say you should especially if you spend time outdoors. Not just in wooded areas walking trails but also in parks.
"This year is going to be a wild year when it comes to ticks because of the warm winter," said Dr. Mike Cirigliano. He’s especially concerned about a virus called Powassan that is showing up in different areas and may be heading our way.
“It can cause significant neurologic problems. In fact some people estimate that 50% of people that get infected with this will have long term neurological side effects and about 10% of people who get it will die." Dr. Mike says it is rare that people will contract Powassan from a tick bite and have those severe side effects. He says most will only get flu-like symptoms but in some cases Powassan will bring on seizures and encephalitis which is an inflammation of the brain. There's no treatment or vaccine.
"It's a combination of warm weather, it's a combination of changes in the dynamics of field mice, deer and then us," said Dr. Mike. Health officials say people have to cover up as much as possible when in high risk areas and be sure to wear insect repellant.
"The people may have to use it because it's going to be warm," said Raj Adhuria.