NC boy hospitalized after contracting rare virus from mosquito


WAYNESVILLE, NC –  Noah Surrett is slowly getting his bearings back.

On Monday, the 6-year-old ventured outside to play with his brothers in their front yard.

Just one week prior, his mother said he was bit by a mosquito and contracted a virus that could have taken his life.

“When you see EMS carrying your child, limp, with his eyes rolled back to the back of his head, that’s all you can think about – is my child going to die?” said Noah’s mother, LoriAnne Surrett.

Noah was at his grandparents house LoriAnne said she got a phone call.

Noah, who had been complaining of a headache, was having a seizure.

“Instant panic mode,” said LoriAnne. “Panic mode because he’s always been a healthy kid, there’s been nothing wrong with him.”

After he was rushed to the hospital in Asheville, Noah was diagnosed with lacrosse encephalitis, a virus contracted from mosquito bites.

“It’s sad, it’s a sad situation. I never thought my 6 year old would ever have to worry about something – I don’t want to pass out, I don’t want to die. I want to be with you and daddy.”

According to medical professionals, the virus is rare.

“Typically children under 16 are the biggest population with this,” said Brandi Giles, a nurse practitioner at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System.

Now, Lorianne is raising the red flag, hoping to warn all parents about the importance of putting bug spray on children.

“I want people to know, use bug spray. Long sleeve shirts, pants,” she explained. “You think oh, it ain’t gonna happen to my kid. Well, I didn’t think it would happen to mine.”

Between 2007 and 2016, a nine-year time span, there were 163 cases of the virus reported in North Carolina, according to Giles. During the same time frame there were four reported cases in South Carolina.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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