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La Crosse encephalitis is an encephalitis caused by an arbovirus, the La Crosse virus, which has a mosquito vector (Ochlerotatus triseriatus).[1] Symptoms include fever and headache, while there is no established treatment.[2]


Symptoms include nausea, headache, vomiting in milder cases and seizures, coma, paralysis and permanent brain damage in severe cases.[2][3][4]


The La Crosse encephalitis virus is a type of arbovirus called a bunyavirus,[5] the Bunyavirales are mainly arboviruses. LAC virus is a zoonotic pathogen cycled between the daytime-biting treehole mosquito, Aedes triseriatus, and vertebrate amplifier hosts in deciduous forest habitats. [6][2]


The diagnosis of La Crosse encephalitis is done via the following procedures which are , blood test, spinal fluid test and EEG (to detect seizures).[7]

Differential diagnosis

The differential diagnosis for La Crosse encephalitis is as follows,Wernickes encephalitis, focal seizures, Cryptococcal meningitis and Herpes simplex virus encephalitis.[2]


No specific therapy is available at present for La Crosse encephalitis, and management is limited to alleviating the symptoms and balancing fluids and electrolyte levels. [8]


La Crosse encephalitis was discovered in 1965, after the virus was isolated from stored brain and spinal tissue of a child who died of an unknown infection in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1960.[9] It occurs in the Appalachian and Midwestern regions of the United States. Recently there has been an increase of cases in the South East of the United States. [10][11]


Intravenous ribavirin is effective against La Crosse encephalitis virus in the laboratory, additionally several studies in individuals with severe, La Crosse encephalitis are ongoing.[12][13]


  1. McJunkin, J. E.; de los Reyes, E. C.; Irazuzta, J. E.; Caceres, M. J.; Khan, R. R.; Minnich, L. L.; Fu, K. D.; Lovett, G. D.; Tsai, T.; Thompson, A. (March 2001). "La Crosse Encephalitis in Children". The New England Journal of Medicine. 344 (11): 801–7. doi:10.1056/NEJM200103153441103. PMID 11248155.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Khan, Usaamah M.; Gudlavalleti, Aashrai (2024). "La Crosse Encephalitis". StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  3. "Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment | La Crosse encephalitis | CDC". 7 November 2022. Archived from the original on 20 October 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2023.
  4. "La Crosse encephalitis - About the Disease - Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center". Archived from the original on 18 May 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (January 2009). "Possible Congenital Infection with La Crosse Encephalitis Virus — West Virginia, 2006–2007". MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 58 (1): 4–7. PMID 19145220. Archived from the original on 2019-09-29. Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  6. McJunkin, J. E.; Khan, R. R.; Tsai, T. F. (March 1998). "California-La Crosse encephalitis". Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 12 (1): 83–93. doi:10.1016/s0891-5520(05)70410-4. ISSN 0891-5520. Archived from the original on 4 April 2023. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  7. "Frequently Asked Questions | La Crosse encephalitis | CDC". 7 January 2022. Archived from the original on 25 January 2022. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  8. "La Crosse encephalitis". CDC. Retrieved 1 July 2024.
  9. Thompson, W.H.; Kalfayan, B.; Anslow, R.O. (1965). "Isolation of California encephalitis virus from a fatal human illness". Am. J. Epidemiol. 81 (2): 245–253. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a120512. PMID 14261030.
  10. Bewick, Sharon; Agusto, Folashade; Calabrese, Justin M.; Muturi, Ephantus J.; Fagan, William F. (November 2016). "Epidemiology of La Crosse Virus Emergence, Appalachia Region, United States". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 22 (11): 1921–1929. doi:10.3201/eid2211.160308. ISSN 1080-6059. Archived from the original on 2022-06-20. Retrieved 2023-04-03.
  11. Rowe, R. D.; Odoi, A.; Paulsen, D.; Moncayo, A. C.; Trout Fryxell, R. T. (3 September 2020). "Spatial-temporal clusters of host-seeking Aedes albopictus, Aedes japonicus, and Aedes triseriatus collections in a La Crosse virus endemic county (Knox County, Tennessee, USA)". PLOS ONE. 15 (9): e0237322. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237322. Archived from the original on 13 April 2023. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  12. Haddow, Andrew D.; Haddow, Alastair D. (February 2009). "The use of oral ribavirin in the management of La Crosse viral infections". Medical Hypotheses. 72 (2): 190–192. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.05.043. ISSN 0306-9877. Archived from the original on 1 April 2023. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  13. McJunkin, J. E.; Khan, R.; de los Reyes, E. C.; Parsons, D. L.; Minnich, L. L.; Ashley, R. G.; Tsai, T. F. (February 1997). "Treatment of severe La Crosse encephalitis with intravenous ribavirin following diagnosis by brain biopsy". Pediatrics. 99 (2): 261–267. doi:10.1542/peds.99.2.261. ISSN 1098-4275. Archived from the original on 2023-04-01. Retrieved 2023-04-09.