Ontario child spent over a month at the hospital after life-threatening mosquito bite

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A six-year-old child in the Greater Toronto Area spent over a month at the hospital after contracting a rare disease from a mosquito bite.

Cameron’s mother, Kathryn McKissock, was shocked to discover her son could develop a life-threatening illness from playing outside of their Oshawa, Ont. home.

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“You always think that is never going to happen to you and it very much can,” McKissock said.

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“It happened not camping, not anywhere deep off in any woods. It happened with my son playing on a swing set in the backyard.”

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The inconspicuous bite looked like any other until Cameron began developing a fever and became increasingly lethargic, McKissock told Global News.

“I just knew something was wrong,” the Oshawa mother said.

“I knew it was more than just a virus. Really, I thought meningitis, but I thought people were going to think I was crazy.”

After undergoing multiple tests at SickKids, the child was ultimately diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis, known as meningoencephalitis. Transmitted by a mosquito called the Jamestown Canyon, the disease causes inflammation and/or infection of the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, nausea, sensitivity to light, seizures, behavioural changes and neck pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

After receiving treatment at the hospital, Cameron has since returned home.

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“I’m still even a month later trying to wrap my head around how did a mosquito do that? And how do you even parent something like that now?”

Most cases occur during the summer months of July and August, according to mosquito-control organization Sutter-Yuba Mosquito & Vector Control.

While preventing mosquito-transmitted infections can be difficult, the best way to avoid any diseases is to reduce the exposure to mosquitoes and their bites, and applying insect repellant.

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