About La Crosse Encephalitis

On this page:
Fact Sheet
Transmission
Prevention
Signs and symptoms
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Fact Sheet

Transmission

Prevention

  • The best way to prevent La Crosse encephalitis is to remove water-holding containers from your property. It is easier to do this in the spring before growing vegetation obscures the containers.

  • Bird baths should have their water changed every week to prevent mosquito breeding, and gutters should be checked to make sure they are not plugged.

  • Water-holding tree holes should be filled with dirt, sand, or a pliable insulation cement to prevent further mosquito breeding.

  • If children play in or near wooded areas during the day, they should:
    • wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants (light-colored clothing works best)
    • use repellents containing DEET (less than 30% DEET is sufficient for adults, and less than 10% DEET is adequate for children) according to label directions

  • Preventing Mosquito-Transmitted Diseases
    Learn how to minimize your risk to La Crosse encephalitis and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

Signs and symptoms

  • Most people infected with this virus will have either no symptoms or a mild flu-like illness.

  • A small percentage of people (especially children) may develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

  • Most of the severe cases start with headache, fever, nausea, and lethargy. The illness may rapidly progress into disorientation, seizures, and coma.

  • There is no treatment for the illness other than supportive care until the illness is over.

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Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10:35AM