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Minnesota leads the country in cases of a rare but deadly tick-borne disease

The disease can cause swelling of the brain and often proves fatal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging health care workers to keep an eye out for Human Powassan Virus, a tick-borne disease that can cause neurological problems. 

Minnesota is atop the list of states where the disease, albeit very rare, has been found in the United States. Only 25 such cases were reported in Minnesota between 2007-2016, with Wisconsin close behind with 20 cases. 


Number of cases reported in Minnesota:  

  • 0 in 2007
  • 1 in 2008
  • 2 in 2009
  • 3 in 2010
  • 11 in 2011
  • 4 in 2012
  • 1 in 2013
  • 0 in 2014
  • 0 in 2015
  • 5 in 2016

That's actually a total of 27, which doesn't align with the 25 cases the map above shows, but either way it's tops in the country. 

Symptoms of the virus include: fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, oss of coordination, speech difficulties, seizures and swelling of the brain, the CDC says. 

Approximately 10 percent of people infected die, with half of the survivors experiencing permanent neurological issues like headaches, muscle wasting and memory loss. 

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Again, the CDC is urging health care workers to watch for tick-borne diseases because they've been on the rise over the last decade, but there's still a less than one in 100,000 chance a person in Minnesota gets it. 

This map shows where cases have been reported between 2007-2016. The darker the purple the higher the chances are of getting it in a specific area, although the odds are still astronomical. 

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If you're working outdoors or spending extended periods of time outside for any reason, consider wearing long sleeves and pants when in tall grass, wooded and brush-filled areas. 

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