Although severe mosquito-borne diseases are less common in Minnesota than in warmer climates, they are still present and dangerous. In 2016, five people died of West Nile Virus in Minnesota.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, these are the three most common mosquito-borne diseases spread by mosquitoes.
1. West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile Virus was first reported in Minnesota in 2002. Since then, it has become the most commonly reported mosquito-borne disease in Minnesota. In 2016, 83 cases of WNV were reported. Sixty-nine of them had West Nile fever, and fourteen of them had neuroinvasive presentations including encephalitis or meningitis.
2. La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC)
Since 1985, 147 cases of La Crosse encephalitis have been reported. The disease primarily affects children — the median case age is only six years old. The virus is transmitted by the Eastern Tree Hole mosquito which mainly inhabits shady, wooded areas.
3. Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV)
In 2016, 6 cases of disease due to Jamestown Canyon virus were reported. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “Much remains unknown about the clinical spectrum of Jamestown Canyon virus, but the typical presentation includes fever, and in more severe cases, meningitis or encephalitis.