By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Former US senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan, died today from encephalitis caused by the tick-borne disease, Powassan virus, according to a Politico report.

Image/US Senate

She served in the U.S. Senate from 2009 to 2015. She was 66.

Hagan apparently contracted the viral infection in Washington in 2016.

Powassan virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected woodchuck or deer tick. While many people infected with Powassan virus do not experience symptoms, signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur, including infection of the brain or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Severe infection can result in death.

Hagan is survived by her husband, Chip Hagan, and children Jeanette Hagan, Tilden Hagan and Carrie Hagan Stewart.