Connecticut Woman Dies from Powassan Virus Tick Bite

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health reported on June 7th that a woman aged 90 died from the tick-borne Powassanvirus illness (POWV). This is the second Powassan-related death in the state this year.
 
The woman, who was unidentified in the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Press releaseThe victim, who lived in New London County, became ill in May. The woman was admitted to the local hospital with a fever and altered mental status. She also suffered from nausea, chills, rigors chest pains, nausea, and headaches. This happened two weeks after the woman had her tick removed.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered antibodies against POWV in laboratory testing.
 
“This incident reminds us that residents need to take actions to prevent tick bites now through the late fall,”Dr. Manisha, DPH commissioner, stated in the news release. “DPH stresses the use of insect repellent this summer and avoiding high-risk areas, such as tall grass, where ticks may be found. It’s also important to check carefully for ticks after being outside which can reduce the chance of you and your family members being infected with this dangerous virus.”
 
According to Commission Juthani, the virus is spread by a bite of an infected deer or black-legged tick. Most people do not experience symptoms, but those who do get infected can develop fevers, vomiting and headaches. In rare cases, the virus can also cause confusion and loss of coordination.
 
A vaccine or particular treatment is not available for POWV-related illnesses. For severe cases, supportive therapies can include hospitalizations, respiratory support, and hydration.
 
The United States is not known to have any cases of the virus. About 25 cases have been reported each year since 2015. Between 2017 and 2021, Connecticut saw 12 cases of the Powassan disease and two deaths.
 
Windham County resident, in his 50s and suffering from POWV, was the first patient this year. He fell ill in March. The patient was a victim of a tick bite and was admitted with a central nervous disorder. 
 
After being discharged from hospital, the patient was released and taken home.