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Clinical Notes: La Crosse Virus Surges in Kids

La Crosse virus has become the most common insect-borne viral disease in children, greatly surpassing the better-publicized West Nile virus. Also this week: cost management joins the medical curriculum.

La Crosse Virus Outpaces West Nile

West Nile virus infections may get all the headlines when it comes to mosquito-borne viral diseases in the U.S., but another pathogen transmitted by insects -- La Crosse virus -- was far more common in children last year, according to the CDC.

Of 712 confirmed West Nile virus infections in 2011, only 12 occurred in Americans younger than 18, CDC researchers said in the July 13 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In contrast, 123 of 130 La Crosse virus infections were seen in children and teens.

Nearly all the La Crosse cases presented as encephalitis or meningitis and required hospitalization, and the numbers represented a 73% increase from 2010. But only one death resulted, compared with 43 fatalities with West Nile virus infection.

But on a percentage basis, the mosquito- or tick-borne illness that was most commonly fatal was Eastern equine encephalitis. Three of the four infections reported to the CDC in 2011 were fatal.
 
 

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