New York State health officials confirmed a case of Powassan virus (POWV) in a Saratoga County resident, according to a Spectrum News report Wednesday. The individual that contracted the tickborne virus has died; however, health officials say it not certain if this was the cause of death, “but it’s likely that Powassan helped contribute.”
This is the second known case of the infection reported in the state capital region.
Cases of human infection with POWV, which can cause fatal neuroinvasive disease and long-term neurological effects, appear to be increasing in the United States. POWV is transmitted by Ixodes tick species found in North America, according to a recent article published in the journal, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
Signs and symptoms of Powassan infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. Long-term sequelae occurs in approximately 50% of patients. Approximately 10-15% of cases are fatal.
Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Powassan virus disease, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tickborne infections.
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