Encephalitis is a serious inflammation (swelling) of the brain. Arboviral encephalitis is caused by an insect (mosquito)-borne virus. In the United States, these diseases include St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, and recently, West Nile Virus Encephalitis (WNV).
SLE is the most common of these diseases in Florida. In an average year, one to 10 cases of SLE are reported. Several large outbreaks involving as many as 200 cases have occurred in the state in recent decades.
EEE occurs sporadically in Florida. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of horses. Transmission of the disease from horse to horse to humans is highly unlikely. The mortality rate for infected horses is 50 to 90%. Vaccinating horses properly will prevent them from contracting the disease. Symptoms of the disease in horses include:
In rare cases, humans may contract the disease. The disease is most commonly detected in horses from April through August
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The Santa Rosa County Mosquito Control is offering a free home mosquito inspection program. If you desire for someone to help you locate breeding sites around your home call 850-981-7135.
Most people who are infected with the West Nile Virus will not have any type of illness. It is estimated that 20% of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever; mild symptoms, including fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.
The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile encephalitis or meningitis) include:
It is estimated that 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease.
From the time of infection to onset of the disease symptoms for West Nile encephalitis is usually 3 to 14 days.
Symptoms of mild disease will generally last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent.
Contact your health care provider if you have concerns about your health. If you or your family members develop symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, you should see your doctor immediately.
Many people may not even know they are infected with an arbovirus. When symptoms do occur, they may include
WNV may also cause rash or muscle weakness. People 50 and older tend to be more severely affected by SLE or WNV. The most severe cases can lead to coma and death.
There are no human vaccines against St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), or West Nile Virus Encephalitis (WNV).
SLE, EEE and WNV pass back and forth between birds and mosquitoes. Mosquito control agencies located throughout the state monitor mosquito populations. When the virus is detected, mosquito control activities are increased-press releases and public education activities are issued to increase awareness of personal protective measures.
If you have additional questions you may call the Mosquito Control Department at 850-981-7135 or email Keith Hussey.