A New York man has died after contracting a rare virus transmitted by a tick bite.
The man, whose name was not released, was the first person to develop Powassan virus in the state of New York this year, CNN reported.
He did have an underlying condition, health officials said, but they didn't say what the condition was.
The virus is serious but rare, and cannot be treated with antibiotic, health officials in Ulster County told CNN. They are now telling people living there to watch for ticks that could be carriers of Powassan virus.
To prevent being bitten by a tick, Dr. Carol Smith the county commission of Health and Mental Health says to wear light-colored clothing, stay on well-traveled paths and use insect repellent with DEET, CNN reported.
Symptoms of the Powassan virus can include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness on the outset. If it becomes severe, it can cause a brain infection called encephalitis or an infection around the membranes surrounding the brain or spinal cord called meningitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Additional severe symptoms can include confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking and seizures, according to the CDC.
One out of 10 people may die if the symptoms become severe. And half of those who survive can have long-term health issues like recurring headaches, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength and memory problems, the CDC said.
Diagnosis is made based on signs and symptoms, potential exposure to ticks carrying the virus and blood or spinal fluid testing, according to the CDC.
Over the past 10 years, not counting 2019, the Powassan virus has been found in 14 states with 144 patients diagnosed.
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