This March 2002 file photo shows a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Credit: Victoria Arocho / AP

A Waldo County resident has contracted the Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne disease that in severe cases can cause brain infections.

That makes it the first recorded Powassan infection seen in Maine this year, and only the ninth since 2010.

The Waldo County resident, who likely became infected in Maine, is recovering after a stay in the hospital, according to Robert Long, a spokesperson for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

It wasn’t immediately clear where that person contracted the virus.

The virus is transmitted to humans by deer and woodchuck ticks. Only 25 cases are reported across the U.S. each year, Long said Tuesday.

Symptoms of the Powassan virus include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss. Long said more serious neurologic issues can occur, including infection of the brain and the membranes around the brain and spinal column. When severe, infection can result in death.

Those symptoms are similar to other tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, including eastern equine encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon virus and West Nile virus.

Deer ticks can also carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other illnesses.

Many people infected with the viruses carried by ticks and mosquitoes do not have symptoms. No specific treatment is available for these viral diseases. If you experience symptoms, call a health care provider as soon as you can.

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