What is St. Louis encephalitis?
St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) is a mosquito-borne viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain.
How do people get SLE?
By the bite of a mosquito (primarily the Culex species) that become infected with SLE virus.
What is the basic transmission cycle?
Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on birds infected with the SLE virus. Infected mosquitoes then transmit the SLE virus to humans and animals during the feeding process. The SLE virus grows both in the infected mosquito and the infected bird, but does not make either one sick.
Could you get the SLE from another person?
No, SLE virus is NOT transmitted from person-to-person. For example, you cannot get the virus from touching or kissing a person who has the disease, or from a health care worker who has treated someone with the disease.
Could you get SLE directly from birds or from insects other than mosquitoes?
No. Only infected mosquitoes can transmit SLE virus.
What are the symptoms of SLE?
Mild infections occur without apparent symptoms other than fever with headache. More severe infection is marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions (especially in infants) and spastic (but rarely flaccid) paralysis.
What is the incubation period for SLE?
Usually 5 to 15 days.
What is the mortality rate of SLE?
Case-fatality rates range from 3% to 30% (especially in the aged).
How is SLE treated?
There is no specific therapy. Intensive supportive therapy is indicated.
Who is at risk of contracting SLE?
While the virus can affect anyone, it has its 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?
How common is SLE in Connecticut?
There has never been a human case of SLE known to have been acquired in Connecticut.
How common is SLE in the United States?
SLE is the most common epidemic mosquito-borne viral disease in the United States (US). Since 1964 there have been 4,478 reported human cases of SLE, with an average of 128 cases reported annually. The outbreak of SLE in New York City in 1999 is the first recognized outbreak of SLE in the northeastern US since an outbreak in New Jersey in 1975.