New York

NYS Department of Health: Person dies after contracting tick-borne illness

Nexstar contributors - SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Health says a Saratoga resident died after contracting the Powassan Virus, a tick-borne illness.

The Department of Health says it will be reporting the case to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday.

The virus is spread through infected ticks.

Symptoms, according to health officials, can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, and seizures. The CDC says many people who become infected with Powassan Virus do not develop symptoms.

The total cases of the Powassan Virus in New York is 24. That number includes two confirmed cases in 2016. Neither of the two cases last year were in the Capital Region – one was in Dutchess and the other in Westchester.

According to the CDC, approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States over the past 10 years.

You can reduce the risk of getting tick-borne viruses by using tick repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding bushy and wooded areas, and doing tick checks after spending time outdoors.

There is no specific treatment for those that get Powassan Virus. The CDC says people with severe Powassan Virus often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member may have Powassan Virus is urged to consult with a healthcare provider.

MORE | Powassan Virus FAQs

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