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St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)

What is St. Louis Encephalitis?
St. Louis Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain.
What are the symptoms of SLE?
Many infections with SLE are inapparent but when symptoms occur they can range from fever with headache to coma. Other symptoms include: fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion.
Who is at risk of contracting SLE?
Though SLE is maintained by a bird-mosquito cycle (birds do not develop disease), it may occasionally be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. While the virus can affect anyone, it has it's greatest impact on the very young and the very old because their immune systems are either in a state of development or decline.
Is there a vaccine for SLE?
No. There is no vaccine because the virus occurs in humans so infrequently.
How can a person prevent infection?
Prevention is the key. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid getting mosquito bites. Recommendations are:
  • Check residential screening, including porches and patios
  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn
  • If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, cover up by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and shirts and use mosquito repellent on skin that will be exposed.
  • Eliminate stagnant water in bird baths, lily ponds and any receptacles in which mosquitoes might breed.

Last Updated: December 6, 2012