La Crosse Virus Infection and Disease in Western North Carolina

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  • Viral Disease Division and Parasitology Division, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health and Human Services, Vector-Borne Diseases Division, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Cherokee Indian Hospital, Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
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Active surveillance for La Crosse infection from 1977 to 1979 revealed 12 laboratory documented cases in children from the Cherokee reservation and nearby areas of western North Carolina. The annual rate of hospitalization with La Crosse infection in Cherokee reservation children less than 11 years old was 22.7 per 10,000. La Crosse virus was isolated from two of 34 pools of male and one of 34 pools of female Aedes triseriatus mosquitoes reared from larvae collected around the residences of reservation children who had been hospitalized with encephalitis. The occurrence of the recent cases, the history of cases in 1964 and 1965, and the demonstration of antibodies to La Crosse virus in sera from second grade children collected in 1968 (2%), in 1978 (4.5%), and in high school students in 1979 (11.3%), indicate that La Crosse has persisted in the Cherokee area for at least 15 years. La Crosse infection is infrequently reported from the southeast, but this may reflect inactive surveillance. More frequent testing would reveal whether La Crosse is a significant health problem in other areas of the southeast.