As the mosquito-born Zika virus continues to inch its way up the United States, a new virus is starting to rear its ugly head, it’s called La Crosse Encephalitis.
An 11-year-old boy from Asheville was recently bit by a mosquito carrying the virus, causing an almost immediate headache and an eventual stroke.
After his severe headaches didn’t seem to go away with conventional treatment, he was rushed to Charlotte’s Levine Children’s Hospital for an MRI and further testing.
Although he will suffer some permanent memory loss, doctors are now saying they expect him to make a full recovery. They are hoping he can leave hospital and head back home within the next few days.
The La Crosse encephalitis virus (LACV) is transmitted through infected mosquitos. Cases of the LACV disease are now starting to occur in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states (see map). Although many people infected with LACV never develop any apparent symptoms, some will develop severe neuroinvasive disease (disease that affects the nervous system) or encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and can include seizures, coma, and paralysis. Long-term disability and death have also been caused by the La Crosse encephalitis virus. The worst reactions to the virus most often occur in children under the age of 16.
The CDC is now recommending that the public wear mosquito repellent or mosquito bands when spending any length of time around stagnant bodies of water or mosquito prone areas.