A New York man fell victim to the Powassan virus which was determined over a month after his death.
The Powassan virus is spread through tick bites and is far more dangerous than Lime Disease, proving fatal in 10-15 percent of cases.
A tick bite might not seem dangerous, as even Lime Disease, a usual worry, is usually quite treatable, however, the Powassan virus is much more serious.
The family of Charles Smith experienced a horrible tragedy and warns that the Powassan virus is a killer.
Fox News reports:
The family of a New York man is speaking out a month after his death to warn about Powassan virus, a potentially deadly tick-borne illness that has had health officials in Maine on the lookout. Charles Smith, of Gansevoort, New York, had found the tick under the skin of his elbow on April 28, WNYT reported.
The avid fisherman, who had survived a heart attack that robbed him of his sight in one eye and the amputation of both his right leg and part of his left foot, wasn’t concerned about the tick.
“He said it’s nothing to worry about, no bulls eye it’s an atypical tick bite because it didn’t measure 5 centimeters,” Stephanie Smith, his daughter, told WNYT.
But 10 days later, Smith started suffering from a fever and the chills. Test results at Glens Falls Hospitals came back negative for Lyme, and he was diagnosed with an enlarged kidney. During an operation to insert a stent, Smith became paralyzed from the neck down, WNYT reported.
Subsequent testing revealed Powassan virus, but it took more than a month after Smith’s death for the New York State Department of Health to confirm the case.
In Maine, health officials confirmed two new cases of the virus this year, bringing the state’s total count since 2000 to nine. The virus differs from Lyme in that it can be transferred from tick to human in a matter of minutes, with symptoms also striking more severely. The virus can quickly reach a patient’s brain, leaving them susceptible to long-term neurological damage.
This summer, keep an eye out for ticks and remember that Lyme isn’t the only disease ticks can carry and spread.
West Nile, Dengue, and Powassan are all threats, especially to the immunosuppressed.
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