Columbia County resident recovering from rare tick-borne disease, Powassan


Right now in Columbia County, a person is recovering from a rare, tick-borne disease. The county health department says it looks like the illness was contracted locally.

New York's Department of Health says there's only about 1 or 2 cases of Powassan virus per year in the state, but with ticks prevalent here in the Capital Region and posing a number of health risks, doctors are urging people to pay attention.

Powassan doesn't pop up often. But when it does, it is serious. It's caused by a bite from an infected tick, but it cannot be transmitted directly from person-to-person. Symptoms usually appear after a few weeks and can include fever, headache, vomiting, even seizures. The state's health department also says the virus can be transmitted from a tick being attached to a person for as little as 15 minutes.

So what can you do to make sure you don't get infected? You can wear light-colored clothing for easy tick discovery, tuck pants into socks and your shirt into pants. If you're out in a wooded area, insect repellents can also be effective.

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