Oregon - First St. Louis
Encephalitis Case In 30 Years

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

News Release Oregon Department of Human Services 10-1-3
Public health officials at the Oregon State Department of Human Services (DHS) said today that a case of St. Louis encephalitis has occurred in Oregon, the first in more than 30 years. Test results from the state's public health laboratory confirm that a Jefferson County resident was infected in late August 2003. He received medical treatment and is recovering. Although he was in the wilderness in Central Oregon prior to his illness, he has not traveled out of the area.
"St. Louis encephalitis [virus], like West Nile virus, is spread by mosquitoes," said Emilio DeBess, DVM, state public health veterinarian in the DHS. "The best way to avoid these illnesses is to take steps to avoid being bitten and to reduce mosquito habitat around your home." Neither St. Louis encephalitis [virus] nor West Nile virus is spread through person-to-person contact. Both illnesses are transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. People cannot contract either infection directly from birds or other animals, according to DeBess.
"St. Louis encephalitis has symptoms similar to those caused by West Nile virus infection. Mild infections often go undiagnosed, with symptoms that include fever and headache," said DeBess. "Symptoms of more severe infections include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, and disorientation."
There is no treatment or vaccine available for St. Louis encephalitis. People who become ill are treated with supportive care, according to DeBess. Public health officials advise these preventive steps to avoid mosquito bites: Eliminate all sources of standing water around your home that can support mosquito breeding, such as gutters, bird baths and old tires; avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and other protective clothing when you are outside; wear insect repellant, preferably one that contains DEET; make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and repair or replace those that have tears or holes.
"State and local public health officials, along with health care providers, have been on heightened vigilance for West Nile virus," said DeBess. "It's possible that this increased attention may result in the detection of additional cases of St. Louis encephalitis, because the symptoms are similar to those of West Nile virus infection."
Between 1964 and 1998, there were 4478 confirmed cases of St. Louis encephalitis in the United States and only two of those cases were in Oregon, according to CDC data.
Ron J. Montgomery, Manager West Umatilla Vector Control District Umatilla County, Oregon, USA
[Oregon is one of only four states still free of West Nile virus infection. The detection of St Louis encephalitis virus, a similar mosquito-borne flavivirus, for the first time in 30 years suggests that Oergon's status as a West Nile virus-free zone is unlikely to survive much longer. - Mod.CP]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health




This Site Served by TheHostPros