BARNSTABLE (CBS) – Tucker Lane of Barnstable has been around ticks his entire life, but it was a bite from one during the summer of 2014 that almost killed him.
“Woke up sweating, cold, shaking felt like I was going to puke,” said Lane.
A few days later he fell into a coma for a week.
“They kind of told my parents there’s nothing more we can really do,” said Lane.
Doctors eventually diagnosed him with the tick-borne Powassan virus, which has no treatment. The virus attacks the brain causing inflammation leading to neurological problems and even death.
“It’s out there at an extremely low level so this is a rare disease, but there is some risk exposures,” Barnstable County Entomologist and Deer Tick Project Coordinator Larry Dapsis.
He says the Powassan virus has been detected in ticks from Sandwich to Truro.
“So it just means you pay attention to doing certain things about preventing tick bites in the first place,” said Dapsis.
Dapsis learned of two men dying from the virus this year after their relatives reached out to him to help educate others about checking for ticks.
The Massachusetts Dept. of Public health isn’t confirming the deaths, but reports there have been 13 cases of the Powassan virus in the state since 2013, with three fatalities between 2013 and 2016.
Today, Tucker is doing fine without any lingering symptoms or damage to his brain from the virus.
“I knew I got lucky in a very unlucky situation,” said Lane.