A high school senior in upstate New York likely died from a tick bite.
Joseph Elone, 17, a senior at Poughkeepsie High School, died earlier this month, but testing continues to try to figure out the cause of death.
Dutchess County Interim Health Commissioner Dr. Kari Reiber told the Poughkeespie Journal that officials think Elone contracted Powassan encephalitis, a disease from ticks, but tests have shown conflicting results and will continue.
“The whole idea … that he just dropped dead, that just blows my mind,” Benedict Elone, Joseph’s father, told the Journal. “That is unfathomable.”
The journal Parasites & Vectors published a study that found as many as 6 percent of ticks in some parts of the Hudson Valley carried a variant of the virus responsible for Powassan.
The health department put out a warning after the death regarding tick- and mosquito- borne illnesses.
“Wear loose, bright clothing and using appropriate insect repellent,” Reiber told YNN. “That will help.”