With encephalitis on the rise WCU experts are advising locals to be aware and take cautionJuly 24, 20232 min read
This summer is seeing a drastic increase in cases of malaria across Texas and Florida, and though North Carolina isn't particularly at risk of mosquito borne diseases - WCU's Brian Byrd was recently contacted by local media as the weather patterns are creating an ideal breeding ground and increasing the likelihood of mosquito bites which can lead to encephalitis, or the swelling of the brain.
A Western Carolina University professor is alerting the nearby public to take caution and carry out preventative measures to protect against encephalitis as cases of malaria in Texas and Florida have been reported in the last month.
Although the risk for malaria in Western North Carolina is generally low, the increase of wet and humid weather in the region increases the prevalence of mosquitoes, thereby increasing the likelihood of mosquito bites which can lead to encephalitis, or the swelling of the brain.
Brian Byrd, WCU professor of environmental health sciences, is also the supervisor of the Mosquito and Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Facility in the School of Health Sciences at WCU.
"La Crosse encephalitis is the most common mosquito-borne disease in North Carolina and predominately affects children in WNC counties, so it is important to remember the three ‘Ds’ of mosquito protection: ‘dress, drain and defend,'" Byrd said.
Those 3 D's of protection are:
Drain or cover standing water
Dress in loose, light-colored long-sleeve shirts and pants
Defend by using CDC-recommended mosquito repellant
Byrd said Thursday, July 5, that for the past week, he and his team of current students and recent graduates have been surveilling for mosquitoes at various spots on campus and doing studies to determine which mosquito traps work the best. ABC 13 News - July 06
This is an important public health topic and prevention is key when it comes to mitigating the spread of diseases such as malaria and encephalitis.
And if you are a journalist looking to know more about this subject - let us help.
Brian Byrd's research focuses on domestic mosquito‐borne diseases, specifically La Crosse encephalitis. He is available to speak with media - simply click on his icon now to arrange an interview today.
Brian Byrd Professor
Brian Byrd's research focuses on domestic mosquito‐borne diseases, specifically La Crosse encephalitis.