STATEWIDE (BDN) -- When a Maine woman died suddenly in 2013 after a tick bite, the state went on alert against the dangerous virus that claimed her life.
Marilyn Ruth Snow, a Rockland-area artist, fell ill almost immediately after finding a tick stubbornly embedded in her shoulder that November. She died just weeks later.
(Photo of Marilyn Ruth Snow. Source: Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home)
At the time, Powassan virus hadn’t been documented in Maine in nearly a decade. Much rarer than Lyme disease, but transmitted more quickly and potentially more devastating, Powassan had appeared in only 50 cases across the country over the previous decade.
Since then, two cases of Powassan have been reported in Maine, both in Cumberland County. The virus caused encephalitis, or brain swelling, but thankfully neither case was fatal.
The cases prompted Maine researchers to wonder just how many ticks crawling around the woods and fields of Maine carried the virus. Recently, they released the results of a statewide survey.
Here are the preliminary results:
Another interesting finding: