The Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department reports a confirmed case of La Crosse Encephalitis in a 4-year-old child from Zanesville. The child is recovering at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The Health Department first learned about the confirmed case Wednesday, July 12th and immediately started a disease investigation. Public health sanitarians went to the home and surrounding properties Wednesday July 12th. Containers of standing water were removed and educational materials were distributed. Earlier in the year, in preparation of mosquito season, information was provided to local physicians regarding mosquito-related diseases. Local physicians will also be notified of the case.
La Crosse Encephalitis is a rare disease that is caused by a virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not transmitted directly from person to person.
Most persons infected with La Cross Encephalitis have no apparent illness. Initial symptoms in those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Severe disease (involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs most commonly in children under age 16, and is often accompanied by seizures.
ZMCHD urges residents to “fight the bite” and take precautions to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, and Lyme disease. In Ohio, ticks are mostly active April through September and mosquitoes May through October.
- If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
- Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
- Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to the skin).
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Eliminate standing water.
- Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
- Make sure all roof gutters are clean and drained properly.
- Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.
- Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and by walking in the center of trails.
- Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
- Use EPA-registered tick repellent and follow label directions.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.
- Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.