The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says a case of a rare tick-borne infection has been confirmed in the state for the first time since 2017.
Maine CDC says an adult resident of southern Maine has been hospitalized in New Hampshire with Powassan virus. The agency says the person is believed to have contracted the illness in Maine.
"Powassan, although rare, can be serious so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take steps to avoid being bitten by ticks," said Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "Use caution in wooded and bushy areas and follow the No Ticks 4 ME approach to help reduce exposure to ticks and lower the risk of disease."
Symptoms can begin from one week to one month after the tick bite. Unlike Lyme disease, Powassan virus does not result in a rash. There is no medication to treat Powassan virus infection, though people who develop severe illness may receive treatment for their symptoms.
There are only about seven cases of Powassan virus reported in the U.S. per year, and Maine has had only 11 since 2000. It’s transmitted through a bite from an infected woodchuck or deer tick. Symptoms can include fever, headache, weakness, confusion and seizures.
Powassan can be fatal, though many people experience no symptoms at all.
Maine CDC says residents should exercise normal precautions about ticks, such as using repellent.