RALEIGH, NC -- Former North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan's family says the brain inflammation that she's recovering from was caused by a virus that's spread by ticks from animals to humans.
A family spokeswoman on Saturday described the cause of Hagan's encephalitis, citing a doctor who had been treating her. Recently received test results indicated Hagan contracted the Powassan virus.
Hagan's husband says his wife has improved since she was moved to an Atlanta rehabilitation center three weeks ago, but that the recovery process will be long.
The former senator initially was in a Washington hospital in December and was later in Chapel Hill. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and served through 2014.