Maine Man Dies Of Rare Tickborne Illness, First State Reported Case of 2023

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TOPSHAM, Maine (WBZ News Radio) — A Maine man has died after contracting a rare tickborne illness making this the first identified case in the state so far this year.

58-year-old Robert J. Weymouth passed away at Maine Medical Center on Sunday after contracting Powassan virus disease. Since 2015, Maine has identified 15 cases of the rare tickborne illness with four in 2022, according to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two of the people who contracted Powassan in 2022 died from the illness, making Weymouth's death the third recorded Powassan death in Maine since 2015.

Cases are rare in the United States, with about 25 reported cases each year since 2015, said Maine CDC.

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The Powassan virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick or woodchuck tick.

Many people infected with Powassan do not experience symptoms. People that do start to experience symptoms will notice they feel unwell from one week to one month after being bit by an infected tick. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, or memory loss, Maine CDC said.

Massachusetts officials recommend checking yourself for ticks once a day and every time after going outside in wooded areas.

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