Deer tick

A deer tick.

RIDGEFIELD, CT (WFSB) - The number of people in Connecticut this season with a rare tick-borne virus has risen to four.

The most recent case of Powassan virus disease was reported in Ridgefield, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The DPH said other cases were reported in New Canaan, New Preston and Newtown.

One of those cases was a fatality.

The Powassan virus is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged deer tick. Most cases are reported from late spring through mid-fall.

The DPH said the virus can cause severe disease. There is no vaccine to prevent it or medicine to treat it.

Symptoms start with fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. If it causes severe disease, confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking and seizures can develop.

About half of the people who survive severe disease have long-term health problems such as recurring headaches, loss of muscle mass and strength, and memory problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The best way to prevent the disease is to protect oneself from tick bites, according to the DPH.

For more on Powassan virus disease and how to avoid tick bites, head to the DPH's website here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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