NJ Confirms First Death From Rare Tick-Borne Illness

Scarier than Lyme?

A 51-year-old woman from Warren County, NJ, died in May at a hospital after experiencing fever and headaches. Now we know why. The cause of death was a rare disease called the Powassan Virus, caused by a bite from an infected tick.

The disease is spread by two kinds of ticks: the black-legged, or deer tick, which also can carry Lyme disease, and the woodchuck tick. Symptoms may show up one week to one month after being bitten by an infected tick. While an infected tick has to stay attached to a person for at least 24 to 48 hours in order to transmit the Lyme virus, the transmission window is thought to be narrower for the Powassan, or POW virus.

This is only the ninth confirmed case in the country this year; the others have been in New York, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. [NJ.com]