Powassan (POW) virus is a flavivirus that is linked to West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and other tick-borne encephalitis viruses. It bears the name of the city of Powassan, Ontario, where the first confirmed case of the illness was found in 1958..
The Powassan virus infects people when an infected tick bites them. Fortunately, the Powassan (POW) virus seldom infects people. Typically, ticks and small animals like woodchucks, skunks, squirrels, and white-footed mice spread the illness back and forth in a cycle.