A bite from a mosquito carrying the La Cross virus recently caused the death of a 6 year old in Tennessee. When a mosquito carrying the La Cross encephalitis virus bites you the result could be nothing more than an itchy bump, or you could develop into a severe brain infection that results in death.

La Cross Virus encephalitis

This is a mosquito borne illness with an incubation period between five and fifteen days. Fatalities from this virus are very rare, but they can occur. This virus causes swelling of the brain in some cases. There are about eighty to one hundred cases of La Cross Encephalitis reported each year.

Severe symptoms and fatal cases of La Cross Encephalitis occur mostly in children under sixteen years of age.

Symptoms of La Cross Encephalitis

The most commonly reported symptoms of La Cross Encephalitis are:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever that lasts for two or three days
  • seizures

Treatments for La Cross Encephalitis

Patients with this disease are placed in the hospital so the symptoms, such as the seizures, the fever, and the nausea, can be treated and managed.

Recent Tragedy in Union County Tennessee

The 6 year old that recently died from encephalitis caused by a mosquito bite was from Tennessee. Tennessee is one of the areas with a high mosquito population. Other states in the southern part of the country, and in the Midwest also have high mosquito populations.

The strain of La Cross Encephalitis that the child was infected with is known as Aedes triseriatus. This is the most potent strain of encephalitis. This strain of encephalitis is predominantly found in mosquitos from the United States.

Mosquitos were collected from the wooded areas near the home of the child that died to determine the strain of encephalitis. Most people will never even show a symptom of having been bitten by an infected mosquito. These tragedies are very rare, but the officials take them very seriously and do everything they can to identify the strain of virus, and to help educate the public on how to protect themselves from possible infection.

Prevention is the Key

Although the severe cases of la Cross Encephalitis are usually fewer than one hundred each year, even one fatality involving a child is too many. The best way to stop the spread of this virus is to prevent the infection, or to prevent the mosquito bite.

The more mosquito bites that you receive the higher your chances of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some preventive measures you can take are:

  • wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors
  • try to not go outdoors just before sunrise or after sunset
  • use mosquito repellant that contains Deet
  • empty all containers in your yard that might hold standing water
  • keep grass mowed
  • plant citronella plants around the perimeters of your home