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.”

With its abdomen engorged with a host blood meal, this image depicts a lateral, or side view of a female blacklegged, or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis/CDC

This is the second known case of the infection reported in the state capital region.

LISTEN: Powassan virus: The spread is inevitable

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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