An Encephalitis Case in South Mississippi


A 7-year-old child from south Marion County has the state's first confirmed case of LaCrosse encephalitis since 1999, state Department of Health officials said.

The child has recovered from the mosquito-borne disease, officials said. The LAC encephalitis virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, said Dr. Ed Thompson, state health officer.

Most cases of the disease occur in children. ``LaCrosse encephalitis can produce severe illness in humans and can, rarely, even be fatal,'' Thompson said. ``There is no effective treatment. Prevention is all we have.''

While most people who get the virus have no symptoms or signs of illness, infected children can suffer seizures, coma and paralysis, Thompson said. Other symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting or drowsiness.

The latest previous case occurred in 1999, in a child from Jackson County. The state Department of Health recommends the following preventive measures: avoid mosquito-prone areas; wear protective clothing; use insect repellant; get rid of open water containers around the house; and keep the grass mowed.