A 51 year old lady contracted the virus in May, 2013 and she died later.
Tadgh Rainey, Hunterdon County Public Health Division director said, Powassan virus has “no business being here in New Jersey, “
He added, but it “now appears to be in Northwest New Jersey.”
Powassan is named for a municipality in Ontario, Canada where it was first identified and Lyme is named for a town in Connecticut.
The symptoms of Powassan are rash, headache and fever.
Powassan also causes seizures, confusion and memory loss and may leave the patient with permanent neurological problems.
The symptoms of Powassan are similar to symptoms of Lyme disease which is also transmitted by ticks.
CDC said that the virus is found in groundhog ticks or Ixodes cookei, deer ticks or Ixodes scapularis.
The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of the ticks.
In 2013, Lyme disease was the most common disease found in U.S. according to the data released by the federal centers for Disease Control and it is also the fifth common notifiable disease.
New Jersey has 2,785 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2013.
Powassan can cause death of the person, as there is no proper treatment for it.
The women who died also suffered from inflation of the brain or encephalitis.
Powassan cases are very rare as only 60 cases have been reported in U.S. in past 10 years.
Powassan is transmitted more quickly than Lyme.
For the person to contract the virus, the tick needs to feed at least 48 hours, whereas powassan can be transmitted within hours.
The powassan virus is transmitted within an hour after the tick bites the person.
Rainey said, “I never want to make anyone scared but it’s important to be vigilant.”