KINGSTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A person in New York has died after being bitten by a tick carrying a rare illness known for causing swelling in the brain.
According to officials in Ulster County, the victim was infected with Powassan virus and died in late July.
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It's the first known case of this virus in New York so far this year. On average, fewer than six cases are diagnosed across the state.https://t.co/z3sTSQuAyT
— News 4, WIVB-TV (@news4buffalo) August 1, 2019
This is the first known case of Powassan virus in New York State this year. The resident lived in Gardiner — about 80 miles north of New York City — and had additional underlying health conditions according to Ulster health officials.
“It is imperative that all residents take every precaution necessary against tick-borne illnesses, especially during outdoor activities. Residents should vigilantly check themselves and their pets for ticks and tick bites,” Dr. Carol Smith, the county’s health commissioner said.READ MORE: Search Continues For Gunman After 11-Month-Old Shot By Stray Bullet In Bronx
Tick bite victims infected with Powassan can experience several symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, memory loss and – in the deadliest cases – swelling of the brain (encephalitis).
New Jersey health officials announced in June that two more cases of Powassan virus were diagnosed in Sussex County.
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The CDC says a tick must be attached to its victim for several hours before a life-threatening disease can be transmitted.