The New York State Department of Health is reporting a Saratoga resident has passed away after being infected with a tick-borne illness.

According to a News 10 story, the resident contracted the Powassan Virus which is spread by infected ticks. News 10 says there have been 24 confirmed cases of the virus in New York, including 2 last year in the southern part of the state in Dutchess and Westchester. No details about the person who passed have been released.

So  what are the symptoms of the Powassen virus? According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) website, '...signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss....(and)...long-term neurologic problems may occur.' The CDC says there is currently no 'specific treatment' for the virus but those with severe cases require hospital stays ' receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain.'  If you want to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of the virus, you can click here. I can imagine this virus will alarm some people, but there is good news here: most people who catch this virus will never develop any symptoms, according to the CDC. 

That said, why take any chances, right? Prevention is the key with Powassen, and Lyme disease for that matter. Especially if you have kids, you have to be diligent to keep the ticks away. So if you are going to be outdoors, use a good tick repellent, wear long sleeves and pants if you are going to high risks areas (Bushy spots, hiking trails, etc) and then as a final stop gap - do frequent tick checks on every one living in your house, and on your pets too!

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