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Powassan, Jamestown Canyon virus human cases reported in New Hampshire

Woman shares story about becoming allergic to red meat after tick bite
Woman shares story about becoming allergic to red meat after tick bite 02:09

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire health officials on Monday reported new human cases of two potentially serious tick-and-mosquito-transmitted diseases.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the year's first human infection of Jamestown Canyon virus in an adult from Hillsboro County. It's the 13th human case of Jamestown Canyon virus since 2018.

The disease spread by mosquitoes can cause flu-like symptoms like fever, muscle aches and fatigue. But it can also progress to seriously impact the central nervous system with meningitis or encephalitis. 

The department also said there are two cases of Powassan virus - one in a Rockingham County adult and another in a Carroll County child.

Powassan is spread by blacklegged tick bites - and they only need to be attached to someone for 15 minutes to transmit the disease. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. Meningitis or encephalitis can also occur, and the CDC says about one in 10 people with severe disease die. 

New Hampshire has reported eight cases of Powassan virus since 2013, when it was first detected in humans in the state. Earlier this year, a Maine man in his 50s died from Powassan virus

Health officials say there are no vaccines or medications that treat the Jamestown Canyon or Powassan viruses. People in New Hampshire are urged to cover up and use insect repellant when outside.

"Mosquitoes will be with us until the first hard frost, and ticks remain active as long as there is no snow cover and temperatures remain above freezing," said Ryan Tannian, chief of the DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, in a statement. "Preventing the bites that cause illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks is a key factor in reducing the risk for illness."  

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