Powassan virus – United States

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One confirmed case of Powassan Virus in Knox County, Maine.

The person likely became infected in June through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick.

This is the second confirmed case of Powassan virus reported in Maine in 2021.

The Maine CDC recommends wearing protective clothing and using a repellant on skin and clothing to prevent tick bites.

Photo: Tick-borne encephalitis virus electron micrograph.

Powassan virus is transmitted by ticks. It is found in North America and in the Russian Far East. It is named after the town of Powassan, Ontario, where it was identified in a young boy who eventually died from it. It can cause encephalitis, an infection of the brain.

Powassan virus infection is rarely diagnosed as a cause of encephalitis; however, when it is, Powassan encephalitis is severe, and neurologic sequelae are common.

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