Case of rare tick-borne virus confirmed in Maine

A case of the rare Powassan virus has been confirmed in Maine for the first time in two years, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.The CDC said an adult from southern Maine was hospitalized in New Hampshire. Maine health officials said they were notified by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services this week that the person tested positive for Powassan.The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick.While many people infected with Powassan virus do not experience symptoms, signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss.Long-term neurological problems may occur, including infection of the brain or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Severe infection can result in death, health officials said.”Powassan, although rare, can be serious, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take steps to avoid being bitten by ticks. Use caution in wooded and bushy areas and follow the No Ticks 4 ME approach to help reduce exposure to ticks and lower the risk of disease,” Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said.Powassan virus was first described in 1958. Cases are rare in the U.S., with an average of seven cases reported each year.Maine has identified 11 cases since 2000.

A case of the rare Powassan virus has been confirmed in Maine for the first time in two years, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC said an adult from southern Maine was hospitalized in New Hampshire. Maine health officials said they were notified by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services this week that the person tested positive for Powassan.

The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick.

While many people infected with Powassan virus do not experience symptoms, signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss.

Long-term neurological problems may occur, including infection of the brain or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. Severe infection can result in death, health officials said.

“Powassan, although rare, can be serious, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take steps to avoid being bitten by ticks. Use caution in wooded and bushy areas and follow the No Ticks 4 ME approach to help reduce exposure to ticks and lower the risk of disease,” Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah said.

Powassan virus was first described in 1958. Cases are rare in the U.S., with an average of seven cases reported each year.

Maine has identified 11 cases since 2000.