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Tick Bites Can Kill You, Health Officials Say

Deer ticks, already known to carry debilitating Lyme disease and other illnesses, may also be infecting humans with the potentially deadly Powassan virus, the Boston Globe reports. What's worse, Powassan may infect us more swiftly than Lyme.

Health officials warn residents that ticks are active year-round. (Patch file photo)
Health officials warn residents that ticks are active year-round. (Patch file photo)
As if Lyme disease and babesiosis weren't frightening enough, there's a new reason to dread and avoid tick bites: Powassan virus, a West Nile-like disease that killed a Maine woman earlier this month.

There is no treatment for the disease, which has also been detected in a Massachusetts woman who survived the infection, reports the Boston Globe.

In August, after a New Hampshire man fell ill with Powassan, a state health official said the time period between tick bite and infection is unknown but likely to be shorter than the 24-48 hours it takes for a tick to infect a human with Lyme disease.

"Some people who are infected may experience mild illness or no symptoms. Powassan virus can also infect the central nervous system and cause brain inflammation," said New Hampshire Public Health Director José Montero, according to Milford, NH Patch.

Other tick-borne diseases, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis, killed at least 10 people in Massachusetts last year, reports the Cape Cod Times.

Health officials warn residents that ticks are active year-round.

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Bill Carson December 30, 2013 at 08:57 AM
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