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HomeHealthMaine resident dies from rare tick virus

Maine resident dies from rare tick virus

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A person in eastern Maine has died from a rare virus spread by an infected tick. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that the person from Waldo County contracted the Powassan virus. TICK BITES ON THE RISE: HOW TO STAY SAFE AS YOU HEAD OUTDOORSThey developed neurologic symptoms and died while in the hospital.The person likely became infected in Maine, the agency said.Main has identified 14 cases of the Powassan virus since 2010. Cases of the virus are rare in the U.S., with about 25 cases reported each year since 2015.Humans become infected with the Powassan virus through the bite of an infected deer or woodchuck tick.According to the center, Powassan is a flavivirus and currently the only well-documented tick-borne transmitted arbovirus occurring in America and Canada. It was first recognized in the town of Powassan, Ontario, in 1958. People who spend time outdoors are at the highest risk of getting Powassan encephalitis.SINGLE TICK BITE CAN CAUSE A LIFE-THREATENING MEAT ALLERGY: REPORTSigns and symptoms of the Powassan virus infection usually start one week to one month after the tick bite.Those can include fever, headache, neck pain, weakness, confusion, speech difficulties, loss of coordination and seizures. Many do not develop any symptoms. The Powassan virus can cause brain swelling and about half of survivors have permanent brain damage. About one out of every 10 cases ends in death. The center advises that people talk to their doctor if they have any signs or symptoms after being bitten by a tick. The virus is diagnosed based on those indicators and confirmed through spinal fluid or blood tests. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThere is no specific treatment for Powassan and severe illness may include supportive treatment in the hospital. The best way to prevent Powassan is to prevent tick bites by using an EPA-approved repellent, wearing tucked long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside, keeping any lawns mowed and leaves raked, and doing daily tick checks on people and pets. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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