Connecticut man suffers from fatal brain infection caused by Powassan virus


A Connecticut man is recovering at home after suffering from a case of the rare Powassan virus, state officials report.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed last week that a man between the ages of 50 and 59 fell ill in March and suffered from a serious illness that affected his central nervous system and required hospitalization. .

This is the second high-profile case of the rare tick-borne virus in the region, with Maine reporting a death from the Powassan virus just three weeks ago.

The highly deadly virus attacks a person’s brain and nervous system and has no vaccine or known effective treatment or cure.

Connecticut officials report that a man in his 50s in the state suffered from a rare case of Powassan virus in March. They confirmed he had been bitten by a tick, the usual cause of the rare disease (file photo)

Blacklegged ticks are usually associated with a rare brain infection.  The CDC reports that they are most common in the northeastern region of the United States, which includes Connecticut and Maine.

Blacklegged ticks are usually associated with a rare brain infection. The CDC reports that they are most common in the northeastern region of the United States, which includes Connecticut and Maine.

The virus is transmitted from animal to human, usually by a tick or groundhog bite. Authorities have confirmed the man was bitten by a tick and are warning others to take precautions.

“The identification of a Connecticut resident with Powassan virus-associated illness underscores the need to take action to prevent tick bites by late fall,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, Commissioner of the (DPH) in a press release.

“Using insect repellent, avoiding areas where ticks are susceptible, and checking thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors can reduce the risk of you or your children becoming infected with this virus.”

The virus is most commonly associated with blacklegged ticks, which are most common in northeastern regions of the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A person will often experience symptoms of the virus between a week and a month after the tick bite.

About one in ten people infected with the virus will die, officials report. Half of those infected are also likely to experience some kind of long-term symptoms, officials say.

Many infected people may not even know it, as the majority of cases are completely asymptomatic.

Last month, the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reported that an unnamed man had died of the virus, the first case reported this year in the United States.

The Maine man reportedly suffered severe neurological symptoms as a result of his infection, one of the normal symptoms of the virus.

Maine CDC experts have warned that people likely to be camping or hiking in a wooded or brushy area should beware of ticks.

There is no treatment or cure for the Powassan virus, an extremely deadly brain infection that causes significant nervous system and neurological symptoms and kills around 10% of people it infects (file photo)

There is no treatment or cure for the Powassan virus, an extremely deadly brain infection that causes significant nervous system and neurological symptoms and kills around 10% of people it infects (file photo)

People should avoid going into the deep brush of the state and instead stick to established trails and routes.

A person should also make sure to cover up to avoid being bitten, and also use insect repellent to keep critters away.

If a person enters an area where there is a high risk of being exposed to a tick, they should be sure to check regularly for a bite, and be sure to shower and wash carefully as well as his clothes afterwards.

“The ticks are active and looking for a host to bite right now,” Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said, as reported by WMTW.

“I urge Maine residents and visitors to take steps to avoid tick bites.”

The virus is named after the town in which it was discovered, Powassan, Ontario, where it was discovered in a young boy in 1958.

It causes about 25 infections in the United States each year.


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