The Powassan virus is responsible for the death of a woman from Warren County approximately two years ago, according to the experts.
Tadgh Rainey, director at Hunterdon County Public Health Division, explained that the Powassan virus does not belong in New Jersey but somehow it now appears in the northwest of the state.
In 2013, a woman living in Warren County contracted the disease after being bitten by a tick. According to a report released by the state Department of Health, the woman died later that year because of the Powassan virus.
Some of the symptoms of this disease include headache, fever and rash, symptoms very similar to those of Lyme disease, which can also be contracted after being bitten by a tick.
According to a report conducted by federal Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease was the most commonly reported infectious microbe in 2013.
Approximately 95% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported in 14 states, mainly in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.
In New Jersey there were approximately 2,780 confirmed cases in 2013, which made it the fourth highest state in the nation with Lyme disease, following New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
But unlike Lyme disease, the Powassan virus can be fatal, experts explain.
The woman who died because of this disease also suffered encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain.
Encephalitis caused by the Powassan virus is deadly in almost 10% of the cases.
The health officials are worried that this virus might be on the rise in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control.
Although there were only 60 cases of Powassan disease reported in the last 10 years in the US, the health officials are still worried.
The Powassan virus was named after the town where it was first identified in Ontario, Canada.
Lyme disease was named after a town in Connecticut.
The CDC said that Powassan can also cause symptoms like confusion, vomiting, memory loss and seizures.
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