The New York State Department of Health says the recent death of a Dutchess County teen is suspected to be related to the tick-borne illness, Powassan virus.
State health officials say there have been 15 confirmed cases of the rare, but potentially-deadly Powassen virus since 2004, five of which were fatal.
The Dutchess County Health Department says tests are being done to confirm whether the 17-year-old is a victim of Powassan, however preliminary tests were positive for the virus. The final tests are being conducted on tissue samples from the victim and the results could take weeks.
Health officials in Dutchess County say this would be the third case in the county; a child in 2009 and an adult male in 2012 both survived the virus.
The Department of Health is warning residents and visitors going to the annual Dutchess County Fair to take precaution against ticks. They ask people to protect themselves against tick- and mosquito-borne diseases by using insect repellent, wearing the proper clothing and checking themselves frequently when spending time outdoors. Posters will be hanging throughout the fairgrounds reminding people to "Be Tick Free" and "Fight the Bite."
There was one case of Powassan virus reported in Saratoga County earlier this year.
The virus can cause neurological problems, and there is no cure at this time.
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