ALBANY, N.Y. — New York health officials are stepping up tick surveillance and education efforts amid a growing number of ticks and tick-borne diseases.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says more than 100 sites across New York were surveyed this summer for ticks and diseases. Collection efforts in Saratoga County were expanded after three confirmed human cases of Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne disease that can cause life-threatening brain inflammation.

The health department found 22 ticks with Powassan virus in Saratoga County, the first time the disease was found there. This fall, collection of ticks will continue, as well as testing of blood from hunter-harvested deer for exposure to Powassan.

A health department tick-borne disease surveillance and response plan similar to the one for mosquitoes will be released next year.

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