JACKSON, Miss. - The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports the first human case of LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC) for 2010 in Montgomery County. The case was reported in a child. LAC is a mosquito-borne illness similar to West Nile virus (WNV).
LAC virus cases are occasionally reported in Mississippi, with the most recent case being reported in 2008. The illness is generally mild with less than one percent mortality. Infants and children infected with LAC usually have more severe symptoms than adults. Those infected with LAC often have no symptoms, but some may experience fever, headache, vomiting, lethargy and sometimes seizures.
So far this year, there has been one positive WNV case reported in Coahoma County. There have been two positive WNV mosquito samples reported in Madison and Hancock counties.
The MSDH conducts statewide mosquito testing during heightened mosquito season with its most intense surveillance during the peak WNV mosquito reproduction months of July, August and September.
The MSDH encourages Mississippians to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of contracting WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses: remove sources of standing water, avoid mosquito-prone areas, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear protective clothing (such as long-sleeved shirts and pants) when in mosquito-prone areas; and apply a DEET-based mosquito repellent according to the manufacturer's instructions.
For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).