CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

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
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

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    TOP

Factors that may increase your chances of St. Louis encephalitis:

  • Increased age
  • Living in or visiting the southern, central, or western US, especially during the summer and fall

Symptoms    TOP

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
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions—especially in infants
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

Diagnosis    TOP

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    TOP

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.

Prevention    TOP

There is no vaccine against St. Louis encephalitis. Prevention of this disease centers on controlling mosquitoes and avoiding mosquito bites. Steps you can take to avoid mosquitoes include:

  • Stay inside between dusk and dark. This is when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outside.
  • Spray exposed skin with an insect repellent that contains up to 35% diethyltoluamide (DEET).
  • Use proper mosquito netting at night. Look for netting treated with insecticide.

RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
https://www.niaid.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

References:

Mosquito avoidance. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115142/Mosquito-avoidance. Updated November 21, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Saint Louis encephalitis fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 11, 2007. Accessed December 7, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000