KNOX COUNTY, OH – A 7-year-old in Mount Vernon was diagnosed with a rare and dangerous disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites, according to Knox County Health Authority.
The department said the La Crosse virus came from a bite from an infected mosquito – especially from the eastern tree mosquito, which is commonly found in wooded areas.
It is unknown where the child got the virus, though the family recently went camping outside Knox County. Health department staff are ready to meet with the family to evaluate any potential breeding grounds around the home.
Advertisement – The story goes on below
Anyone who lives nearby or spends time in forested areas is at increased risk of the virus. The best way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites, which can be done by wearing insect repellent.
Health officials say La Crosse-infected people have no visible symptoms, but those that develop usually start five to 15 days after being infected with a mosquito bite and include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and lethargy.
Severe illness can occur in children under 16 years of age and may include seizures, coma, paralysis and various neurological complications after recovery.
Ohio reports more human cases of La Crosse virus than any other state in the United States, an average of 20 per year, according to the health department.
The Ohio Department of Health says there are currently 14 cases of La Crosse in 10 Ohio counties, including Holmes, Franklin, Ashland, Geuga, Lawrence, Wood, Portage, Wayne, Hancock and Tramble.