The Return of St. Louis Encephalitis: A Mosquito Borne Disease
When the number of reported cases of a particular mosquito borne virus start to decline, it’s great news. However, it’s important to remember that just because the number of cases where people have been struck by the disease has reduced almost to non existence, doesn’t mean that it has disappeared. There has been a recent report of the disease St. Louis encephalitis in California, proving that this ‘sleeping’ virus is very much still a threat.
It turns out that a Stanislaus County man who became sick in September was stricken by St. Louis encephalitis, a virus that has reappeared in the Northern San Joaquin Valley this year. Like the West Nile virus, the St. Louis disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Both of the viruses may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, in people who are infected.
As with other viruses, the symptoms can be hard to identify, so if you’re in any doubt that you could have been bitten by a mosquito and have become infected by one of the myriad of diseases that they spread, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
The following news report from 3 years ago alerted the public to St. Louis encephalitis.
Most of us will think of diseases such as malaria and zika, the frequently reported illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes. We may forget that there are still many other life threatening mosquito borne diseases that are a problem all over the world, so wherever you are, protect yourself from these pests.
The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has confirmed that the county has seen its first case of the St. Louis encephalitis virus with the diagnosis of a male county resident in his 70s.“He had symptoms and was tested in September,” said Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan. “Confirmatory testing was performed first by the California Department of Public Health, followed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The diagnosis marks the second confirmed case of the virus in a person in California for the year.
Remember that prevention is the best cure, so whatever you do, when you step outside, put your health first and protect yourself.