A New York resident was killed by a rare, brain-swelling virus carried by ticks.

The resident lived in the Hudson Valley, in Ulster county. Notification of the death was received by the Ulster County Department of Health on Wednedsay, July 31, and attributed the death to the Powassan virus, a rare, tick-borne illness.

According to the Hudson Valley Post, this is the first known case of Powassan virus in New York State this year. The Powassan virus is carried by the same tick that carries Lyme disease. The virus attacks the nervous system, causing brain swelling which can lead to death or leave the victim with permanent neurological damage.

The best protection against Powassan is to keep yourself safe from ticks.

You can take several precautions to prevent exposure to ticks:

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET
  • Wear light-colored long sleeves and pants, to prevent bites and to easily spot ticks
  • Avoid bushy and wooded areas
  • Check thoroughly for ticks after spending time outdoors.
  • Tuck your pants into socks
  • Check everyone, including pets, frequently and at the end of each day, and remove all ticks promptly and properly.

[H/T Hudson Valley Post]