Connecticut woman dies of Powassan Virus
HARTFORD, Connecticut – An elderly Connecticut woman has died of the Poisan virus, officials said.
A woman in her 90s became the second Connecticut resident to test positive for the virus this year.
The Wyndham man was the first person to test positive for the Powassan virus this year, according to Department of Public Health officials.
The woman lived in the county of New London and became ill in early May.
She was admitted to hospital with symptoms including fever, altered mental status, headache, chills, rigors, chest pain and nausea.
Her condition worsened and she eventually became unresponsive. Officials said the virus died on May 17, according to the Department of Public Health.
Department of Public Health officials said the woman was bitten by a known tick that was removed two weeks before symptoms began.
Laboratory tests conducted by the CDC confirmed the presence of antibodies to the Poisan virus.
The patient was a New London County woman between the ages of 90 and 99, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).
She fell ill in early May and has dealt with many symptoms including fever, headache, chills, chest pain and nausea. DPH said.
Health officials said most infected people will likely not experience any symptoms or mild flu-like illness.
DPH said some people may develop serious illnesses that will affect the central nervous system.
One in 10 serious cases is fatal, the Department of Public Health added, and about half of the survivors have long-term health problems.
Health officials are urging residents to take action to prevent tick bites.
What is the Poisan virus?
Powassan virus is a rare, but often severe disease caused by a virus that spreads from infected ticks to people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It belongs to a group of viruses that can cause infections of the brain, encephalitis, or the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and meningitis, according to the CDC.