St. Louis Encephalitis
DefinitionSt. Louis encephalitis is a mosquito-borne infection. This disease can affect the central nervous system, causing severe complications and even death.
|The Central Nervous System|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesSt. Louis encephalitis is caused by a virus. Mosquitoes are infected with this virus when they feed on birds. Infected mosquitoes can transmit the virus to humans and animals. St. Louis encephalitis is not spread from person to person.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of St. Louis encephalitis include:
- Increased age
- Living in or visiting the southern, central, or western United States, especially during the summer and fall
SymptomsSt. Louis encephalitis can result in a wide range of symptoms or produce no symptoms at all. The disease can be mild, severe, or even fatal.Symptoms usually appear 5-15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and may include:
- Neck stiffness
- Joint pain
- Convulsions—especially in infants
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will also be done to identify the virus.
TreatmentThere is no specific treatment for St. Louis encephalitis. Treatment will focus on managing your symptoms and complications, such as through supporting breathing and providing fluids.
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