A North Carolina mom is warning parents about the danger of mosquito bites after her son was diagnosed with La Crosse encephalitis.
In a Facebook post, LoriAnne Surrett said her son, Noah, was complaining of a headache before being dropped off for a night at her in-laws.
The next day she received “the scariest call of her life” from her mother-in-law, who told her 911 was on the way because Noah wasn’t “acting like himself.”
“He screams out in pain from the headaches, and he’s really just like a zombie,” Surrett told WLOS. “It’s scary, it’s really scary. I don’t want [any] parent to have to go through this.”
By the time Surrett had arrived at her in-laws’ house, the emergency responders were already there and her son was unresponsive.
“Noah’s lips were blue, eyes fixed looking up and was completely limp. He had a seizure,” she said.
Paramedics managed to stabilize the child on the way to the hospital. When they arrived, doctors immediately took blood and urine samples, performed a CT scan and spinal tap, as well as an X-ray.
It was through the spinal tap they discovered he had the La Crosse encephalitis virus, which causes an inflammation of the brain which results in seizures and headaches, and, in extreme cases, can be fatal. Doctors said Noah son likely contracted it after being bitten by a mosquito while playing outside.
Surrett told TODAY there were moments in hospital when she didn’t think he was going to make it.
“There was so many times it went through my mind, not knowing if he was going to make it,” she said. “Then all of a sudden, at 3 o’clock that day, he just sat up in bed and started talking to me… It was just mind-blowing how much – just in a matter of minutes it’s like he’d come to life.”
While the child is now recovering at home, his mom says his recovery is expected to be slow. In the meantime, she’s warning other parents about the dangers of the virus.
“Please be cautious as this was something I thought I had prevented happening,” she wrote on Facebook.
“I don’t want to see another baby go through this… Use bug spray on your kids, check for bites,” she continued. “It’s not 100 per cent preventable, obviously, but do what you can to try.”
The family has started a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs.