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Untreatable Virus Found In Ticks In Southern Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- An emerging tick-borne disease is starting to show up in Bridgeport and Branford, a researcher says.

The Powassan virus has symptoms that are similar to those of Lyme disease, including headache, nausea and fever, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

But once contracted, there's no treatment for Powassan. In some cases, it can be fatal, said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, who heads The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Untreatable Virus Found In Ticks In Southern Connecticut

"These ticks will transmit this virus when they feed within a matter of hours, whereas with Lyme disease, for example, ticks generally have to feed up to two days before they're capable of transmitting it," Andreadis said.

Andreadis said there have been no reported human cases of the virus in the region, but added that, now more than ever, people who venture into wooded areas, where deer might carry ticks, should protect themselves with clothing.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many people who become infected with the Powassan virus do not develop any symptoms. The incubation period ranges from one week to one month.

The virus can infect the central nervous system and cause encephalitis and meningitis.

Approximately half of survivors develop neurological symptoms, such as recurrent headaches, muscle wasting and memory problems, according to the CDC.

There were 12 reported human cases nationally in 2013, the last year for when statistics are available.

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