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New York Man Dies From Tick Carrying Brain Swelling Virus


The daughter of a man who lived just outside the Hudson Valley is warning the public after her father died from a tick that carries a rare brain swelling virus.


In early May or late April, 74-year-old Charles Smith of Saratoga County discovered a tick bite near his elbow. Ten days later,Smith became very sick and was rushed to a hospital.

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After a number of tests, he was diagnosed with the Powassan virus and died in early
June, reports WYNT.

The Powassan virus is spread by the same deer tick that carries Lyme disease. Powassan, which in some cases has been fatal, attacks the nervous system and can cause a dangerous brain swelling.

Other symptoms can include vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss.

There is currently no treatment for the virus, which according to the CDC kills around 10% of people who become sick. Half are left with permanent neurological problems.

At the families urging, on Wednesday, the New York State Department of Health confirmed that Smith was diagnosed with the Powassan virus.

“Why has it taken us to to contact you to make people aware?” Stephanie wondered to WYNT.

To decrease your risk of being infected with the Powassan virus the CDC recommends using tick repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding bushy and wooded areas and doing thorough tick checks after spending time outdoor.

Correction: This article originally stated that the death of 17-year-old Poughkeepsie High School Joseph Elone in 2013 was from Powassan virus.
While Powassan virus was initially suspected, Elone in fact died of Lyme carditis, according to the Lyme Action Network.

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