DPH: Man diagnosed with first case of Powassan virus in Connecticut

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Conn. (WFSB) – A man from Windham was diagnosed with the first case of Powassan virus in Connecticut in 2022.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) says the Powassan virus is contracted through tick bites.

According to the DPH, there were a total of twelve cases of Powassan in Connecticut from 2017 to 2021. Officials say two of those cases were fatal.

“The identification of a Connecticut resident with Powassan virus associated illness emphasizes the need to take actions to prevent tick bites from now through the late fall,” says DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani.

DPH officials say patients who have this infection develop symptoms anywhere from a week to a month after infection.

Officials say while most experience mild symptoms, others could develop severe symptoms.

Severe cases often start with fever, vomiting, headache, weakness, rapid progression to confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, or seizures, officials say.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health released a list of how to avoid tick bites:

  • Avoid areas where ticks are likely to be, such as in in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. Ticks are active from spring to fall and may also be active on warmer days during winter.
  • Consider the use of CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone, and apply according to directions, when outdoors.
  • Check yourself and your children for ticks immediately after coming indoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors may be effective in reducing the risk of tick-borne disease.
  • Examine clothing, gear, and pets carefully after coming indoors. Tumble dry clothing for 10 minutes to kill ticks that were carried inside.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your dog.
  • Consider treating items such as boots, clothing, and hiking or camping gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.

For more information on the Powassan virus, click here.

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