So sad.  The best ways to prevent a tick bite are by using repellents and wearing long pants and light-colored clothing.  Also, make sure you check your kids for ticks and bites when they are outside.  My mother was treated for Lyme Disease and it left her with arthritis.  She recently had another suspicious bite and was treated with medication.  Brad Paisley was right, check each other for ticks!

For the first time, a Minnesotan has died of a brain infection from a rare tick-borne virus called Powassan, the state Health Department reported Wednesday.

The victim was a woman in her 60s from northern Minnesota, health officials said. In addition, an Anoka County man in his 60s was hospitalized with a brain infection after he contracted the Powassan virus in May. He is recovering at home, officials said.

The Powassan virus is spread by deer ticks, which also carry Lyme disease. But only about 60 cases have been identified in North America in the 50 years since it was first identified in Powassan, Ontario, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state epidemiologist, said Powassan infections can strike the central nervous system and the brain, and are fatal in about 10 percent of cases.

Because it's caused by a virus, Lynfield said, the disease is not treatable with antibiotics, "so preventing tick bites is crucial."

Both victims, who were not publicly identified, became ill in May after spending time outdoors and after noticing tick bites, the Health Department reported. Officials say the woman likely was exposed near her home, while the man may have been infected near his home or at a cabin in northern Minnesota.

The Powassan virus, which is related to West Nile virus, was first detected in Minnesota three years ago, in a child in Cass County.

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