What is La Crosse encephalitis?
Encephalitis means inflammation of the brain. La Crosse encephalitis is caused by a virus and it spreads through the bite of infected mosquitoes. La Crosse encephalitis can infect people, chipmunks, and squirrels.
What are the symptoms of La Crosse encephalitis?
Most people with La Crosse infection do not get sick. Some people may develop a mild illness with symptoms of headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and confusion. In severe cases, people may have seizures or go into a coma. La Crosse is rarely fatal, but children may have headaches, seizures, or other problems after they get well.
Who is most at risk for La Crosse encephalitis?
Children under the age of 16 are most at risk, but disease can occur at any age. Children are more likely to get the infection if:
? They live near the woods;
? There are cans, bottles, tires, or other containers that hold water lying around their house or play areas; or
? They play outdoors frequently during June through October near areas were mosquitoes breed.
Is La Crosse encephalitis a problem in West Virginia?
In 2011, 27 cases of La Crosse encephalitis were reported in West Virginia. In the past, as many as 50 cases have been reported in West Virginia in a single year.
How is La Crosse encephalitis spread?
La Crosse encephalitis is spread by the treehole mosquito (Oc. triseriatus), the Asian tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus), and the Asian rockpool mosquito (Oc. Japonicus). These mosquitoes can live in the woods and lay eggs in treeholes or containers that hold water. Tires, cans, bottles, buckets, tire swings, toys, or any container that holds water can allow mosquitoes to breed near your home.