Another fatal case of tick-borne Powassan in Maine
Maine health officials have confirmed a fatal case of Powassan virus disease in a Sagadahoc County resident.
The man developed neurologic symptoms and died while in the hospital after becoming infected, likely in Maine. This is the first case of the tick-borne illness identified in the state this year.
Cases of Powassan are rare in the United States, with about 25 cases reported each year since 2015.
Maine has identified 15 cases since 2015, including four in 2022. Two of the individuals who contracted Powassan in 2022 died of the illness, making this the third recorded Powassan death in Maine since 2015.
People acquire the Powassan virus through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick. Ticks can be active any time the temperature is above freezing, but are most active in the spring, summer, and fall.
Many people infected with Powassan do not have symptoms. For those who develop symptoms, the time from tick bite to feeling unwell can range from one week to one month.
Symptoms may include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, or memory loss. Some people may experience serious neurologic problems, like brain or spinal cord inflammation. About 10 percent of people with severe disease die. If you experience any of these symptoms after a tick bite, call a health care provider as soon as possible.
SOURCE OF PRESS RELEASE: Maine CDC
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