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Connecticut News

Connecticut woman succumbs to tickborne Powassan virus

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A Connecticut woman in her 90s has died after becoming infected with the tickborne Powassan virus.

The state Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that the woman lived New London County and became sick in early May. She died May 17. She is the second person in Connecticut to test positive for the virus this year and the first to die.

Cases of the virus are rare in the United States. About 25 cases have been reported each year since 2015.

Between 2017 to 2021, 12 people became ill and two died from Powassan virus in Connecticut.

Humans become infected with Powassan through the bite of an infected deer or woodchuck tick.

Many do not get sick. But those who do can experience fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures or memory loss. Severe disease includes neurologic problems, including brain or spinal cord inflammation.

Health Department officials said the woman who died had a known tick bite which was removed two weeks before experiencing symptoms.