A high school student in Poughkeepsie has died from a possible infection of the Powassan virus. YNN's Michael Howard has more on how members of Dutchess County are dealing with the student's death.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Joseph Elone, 17, was known for his passion for helping others, his love of science and as acting principal, Salvador Contes says his golden heart.
“It’s been heart breaking. So far, he’s had many teachers throughout the years coming from the middle school on up and speaking to some of his teachers directly and them calling me, they’re heartbroken by it.”
Earlier this month, according to the Poughkeepsie School District, the soon to be senior died from the Powossan virus.
"The initial autopsy was the Powossan virus, which after we did some research, is a very, very rare tick virus,” said Dutchess County Health Department Commissioner Kari Reiber.
Reiber says an initial test did come back positive, but other tests need to get done.
“It was a screening test and that was positive, but in order to make the diagnosis and confirm the diagnosis, further testing has to be done,” Reiber said.
The Powassan virus is spread by the same deer ticks with Lyme disease and its symptoms are the same as the West Nile virus, however, Reiber does provide information on how to protect yourself.
“Wear loose, bright clothing and using appropriate insect repellent," Reiber said. "That will help.”
For now, members of Poughkeepsie High School will have to deal with the loss of one of their own.
“It’s just a tough thing,” said Contes. “We should never lose any of our young ones.”
A memorial service will be at the Hudson River Rowing Association’s Boathouse Friday at 6 p.m.