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Two Connecticut residents diagnosed with the tick-borne Powassan virus

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Two Connecticut residents have been diagnosed with the Powassan virus, a disease carried by ticks that attacks the central nervous system.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health reports that both cases involve people between 50 and 79 years old, one from Fairfield and the other from New Haven. Both patients were hospitalized in late April and lab tests showed they had contracted the virus, the department said Tuesday.

These are the 11th and 12 cases of the virus found in Connecticut since 2016. Two of those were fatal.

People who contract the virus often suffer no issues, but it can cause a serious or fatal illness with symptoms including fever, vomiting, headaches, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination and seizures.

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Half of those who develop illness experience long-term health problems, and there is no vaccine, the department said.

Ticks are parasitic insects that feed on humans and other species and carry a variety of illnesses, including Lyme disease. Health officials have reported increased tick populations in Connecticut and elsewhere in the region this year.

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