Mom of child with 1st case of Powassan Virus speaks to Channel 3 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mom of child with 1st case of Powassan Virus speaks to Channel 3

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The mother of a baby from Connecticut contracted a rare tick-borne disease spoke to Channel 3.  (WFSB) The mother of a baby from Connecticut contracted a rare tick-borne disease spoke to Channel 3. (WFSB)
GRISWOLD, CT (WFSB) -

As the temperatures continue to go up, and Connecticut residents spend more time outside, parents are being warned about the risks of ticks.

State health officials confirmed a baby from Connecticut contracted a rare tick-borne disease. It was the first case in the state.

Eyewitness News talked with the little boy’s mom.

"It was the beginning of November,” Desiree Phillips, of Griswold, said. “He started vomiting."

Phillips said things only got worse from there for her then five-month-old son, Liam. While Liam was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, he then started suffering seizures and facial twitching.

 "It's been an emotional rollercoaster,” Desiree Phillips said. “When he was in the hospital both me and my husband thought we were going to lose him."

But, it was Dr. Nicholas Bennett, who is an infectious disease specialist at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, who eventually figured out it could be the Powassan Virus, which is a rare tick-borne disease. In fact, Phillips told him she had pulled a tick off Liam’s knee a few weeks earlier.

"We started to get some clues when we looked at his spinal fluid and at the MRI scan of his brain that this was a very unusual encephalitis that didn't really fit with the more typical causes that we're used to seeing,” Bennett said.

Bennett said Liam’s case was the first one in Connecticut and that the virus is much more aggressive than Lyme Disease and can infect someone in minutes.

After going through months of physical therapy, Liam is now hitting his markers but has a weakness on his right side that could follow him into adulthood.

While his progress is a relief to Desiree Phillips, she said she wants to get the word out to parents to check their children for ticks.

"Now that he is where he is now, I feel a lot better about where he is,” Desiree Phillips said

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