Powassan Virus and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses – A First Defense

Currently, there a few tick-borne illnesses including Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, encephalitis, and now in the northeast, significant cases of Powassan virus. Powassan virus is of particular concern because there is no medical treatment for it at this time, it can be transmitted to within an hour to a human host, and 10% of human cases have been fatal. By contrast, Lyme disease, is caused by bacteria, can be treated with antibiotics, can take two days for transmission to humans, and is not fatal.

Today, if one gets a tick bite, whether it is caused by the usual carrier of these diseases, the adult female deer tick (orange body with black center), or nymph, or male deer ticks, or even a dog tick, it may be a good idea to sting this area with a bee immediately after removing the tick. Honeybee venom is both anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and has the ability to potentially kill bacteria or virus before it gets established in the body.

In almost all cases, the bee sting would have to happen as soon as possible after the tick is removed, and certainly within the same day. Any later than that would make this remedy less effective for Powassan Virus. You might have an extra day with Lyme disease, but this is a situation that I like to refer to as “Sting first, ask questions later.” You don’t have time to send the tick to a lab for diagnosis, or wait for symptoms to appear. You just have to assume the tick could have a virus or bacteria, and if it does, a bee may just save the day for you.

Note: As a precautionary measure, it is always recommended to have an Epi-Pen on hand when doing bee stings.