St. Louis Encephalitis

Definition

St. 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
si1210 97870 1 central nervous
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Causes

St. 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 Factors

Factors 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

Symptoms

St. 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:
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions—especially in infants
  • Paralysis

Diagnosis

Your 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.

Treatment

There 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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