EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSKanawha-Charleston Health Department Investigating La Crosse Encephalitis Cases
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Sep. 18, 2013 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Sep. 18, 2013 12:58 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said it is investigating cases of La Crosse Encephalitis.
Two children have been diagnosed with the disease and hospitalized so far during this season, according to a news release from the health department. Health officials said the disease is caused from the bite of an infected mosquito and in some cases can cause inflammation of the brain resulting in severe life-threatening illness.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the health department, said the two cases involve children under the age of 15. He said children under this age are most at risk. Children are more likely to get the infection if they live near woods and play outdoors frequently during May through October near areas where there are containers that collect and hold water such as tires, rain barrels, buckets and wading pools. Breeding grounds can even be found in discarded cans or bottles.
Infections normally occur during the summer and fall months when mosquitoes are active. Most people with La Crosse infection do not get sick, the health department said. 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 Crose is rarely fatal, but children may have headaches, seizures or other problems after they get well.
The health department said there are steps you can take to prevent infections including removing containers that collect water near homes.
Other prevention steps people can take:
* Make sure doors and screens are bug tight.
* Remove containers that can collect standing water.
* Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
* Avoid outside activities when mosquitoes are active (usually dusk and dawn).
Use an effect insect repellent that contain one of the following DEET, picaridn, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 and follow the manufacturer directions carefully.
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