US Reports First Death from the Powassan Virus – A Tick-Borne Infection

Recently, a US resident died from the rare Powassan virus infection – marking the first fatal case in the country this year. Health officials have issued warnings about the non-treatable viral disease.

Powassan virus disease is a rare and serious illness transmitted to humans through bites of infected deer, groundhog, or squirrel ticks. Although most infected individuals show no symptoms, others may experience fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, seizures, encephalitis, or meningitis. 

The disease is more frequent in the northeastern and Great Lakes regions of the United States and may show a seasonal prevalence – between late spring and mid-autumn. The incidence rate in the US is about 25 annual cases.

There is currently no specific vaccine or medication for the disease, so preventive measures such as wearing protective clothing, using insect repellent, inspecting the body for ticks, and promptly removing ticks are recommended to avoid infection.

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