Dangers of mosquitos

Published 5:48 pm Thursday, August 29, 2013

To the editor:

On Saturday, Aug. 10 we took our 4-year-old son to Mission Memorial with a high fever, nausea, some confusion and severe head pain.

Both his pediatrician and a doctor at another hospital had previously diagnosed him with pharyngitis/strep the Thursday evening before. All signs pointed to strep.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As it turns out, our healthy, active 4-year-old had encephalitis, which occurs from the La Crosse virus they suspect he had. Mosquitoes transmit it. Typically, the doctors and nurses at Mission have seen La Crosse virus in the upper counties with most cases coming from Transylvania and Haywood counties. Our son’s case was the first they had seen from the Tryon/Columbus/Mill Spring area. There is no treatment for La Crosse other than monitoring fluids, watching out for seizures and treating the extreme pain. We watched our son struggle with his symptoms for almost a week.

After the fifth day in the hospital he had made a major turn around and was able to go home. We appreciate our community of friends, churches and strangers who have prayed for us, sent cards, food and well wishes. We are blessed to be surrounded by such caring folks.

Please spray your child with bug spray that contains DEET. As the doctors told us, it is the only way to keep the mosquitoes at bay. We hope no other citizens come down with this terrible virus, but should they, hopefully our story will help you identify the cause.

– Olivia and Joey Whiteside,Lynn