Maine officials have confirmed the first fatal case Poisson virus disease In 2023.
The Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that they found a tick-borne illness in an adult resident of Sagadahoc County. Robert J. of Portland. Weymouth, 58, was identified as the man who died after complications from the virus, according to a local obituary. According to the Maine CDC, he developed neurological symptoms and died at the hospital after being infected, possibly in the state.
His widow, Annemarie Weymouth, is now warning others to protect themselves from the illness.
“He was there, but he couldn’t move his body. He could point to words on a board. He was ‘scared,’ ‘frightened,’ ‘frustrated,'” Weymouth told a local station in Maine.
How do you get the Powassan virus?
Powassan virus can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick, health officials said. Arachnids may be active when temperatures are above freezing, but they are most active in the spring, summer, and fall.
What are the symptoms of Powassan virus?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many people infected with the virus have no symptoms. However, the agency says that for those who develop symptoms, it can be a week to a month from the time of the tick bite to feeling sick.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures or even memory loss, according to the Maine CDC. More severe cases can include neurological problems such as inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, and about 10% of people with severe disease die, health officials said.
Powassan virus is not treatable. Health officials encourage anyone experiencing symptoms after a bite to contact their healthcare provider.
Poisson’s events are Rare in the US, according to the Maine CDC, has reported about 25 cases per year since 2015. Maine has identified 15 since 2015, including four in 2022. Two of the people infected with Powassan died of the illness in 2022, making the Weymouth death the third Powassan death in Maine since 2015.
How can you protect yourself?
Here are some ways you can avoid tick-borne diseases—go Includes Lyme disease – Includes wearing when spending time outdoors Insect repellents with DEET, Tuck your pants into your socks, avoid tall grass, shower as soon as you’re outside, and have someone check your body for ticks.
And if you find one, time is of the essence.
“Don’t wait for it to move,” Brian Bakkenson, assistant professor at the University at Albany School of Public Health, told CBS News in April. “With a fine-point pair of tweezers, get as close to the skin as possible and gently and firmly pull straight up and the tick will come right out.”