St. Louis Encephalitis -
3 Case In Arizona

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Arizona - 3 Human Cases Of St. Louis Encephalitis Virus Infection
Arizona Daily Star Regional News Brief Wed 15 Oct 2003 [edited]
3 Maricopa County residents have been diagnosed with St. Louis encephalitis, a mosquito-borne illness that can cause death in rare cases. The Maricopa patients sought medical attention after becoming ill with fever, headaches, and confusion. All 3 have recovered, said Doug Hauth, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
St. Louis encephalitis was first seen in Arizona in 1964. It is transmitted by mosquito bites, but the infection rate and severity depend largely on the age of the patient.
Arizona - Tracking St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
The Arizona Republic Wed 15 Oct 2003 [edited]
[So far in 2003], at least 3 Maricopa County residents have contracted St. Louis encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease that causes fever, headaches, and confusion in victims. Health officials say that's more cases than usual but still relatively few considering the county's 3.2 million residents.
"The season is waning, but we're not going to let our guard down until we know the mosquito season is actually over," said Doug Hauth, spokesman for the county health department. "We want to let everyone know we're tracking it." There were 2 cases [during 2002] but none in the previous several years, said Craig Levy, manager at the Arizona Department of Health Services' vector-borne disease program. "St. Louis encephalitis virus is a regular occurrence in mosquitoes and birds in Maricopa County virtually every single year," he said. "Human cases probably do occur but not in huge numbers."
The county tracks 3 types of mosquito-borne illness: St. Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, and West Nile virus infection. Hauth said that the county has no reports of Western equine encephalitis or West Nile virus in humans [so far in 2003]. All 3 of the Saint Louis encephalitis victims reported the disease to their doctors in July 2003. 2 patients were from Scottsdale and one was from Phoenix. All lived in the outskirts and have recovered.
For more information on mosquito reduction and avoidance, go to
[St. Louis encephalitis virus and West Nile virus are similar mosquito-borne viruses, classified in the Japanese encephalitis group of flaviviruses (i.e., viruses comprising the genus _Flavivirus_ of the family _Flaviviridae_). Although only a small proportion of St. Louis encephalitis virus infections lead to clinical disease, the outcome can be severe in the elderly and the immune-compromised. Arizona appears to have been relatively free of these viruses in the recent past. As of Wed 8 Oct 2003, only one of the 6507 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infection in the USA occurred in Arizona. Consequently the occurrence of 3 cases of St. Louis encephalitis in Arizona in 2003 is a matter of some significance. - Mod.CP]
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