Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases of SLEV disease have occurred in eastern and central states (see map). Most persons infected with SLEV have no apparent illness. Initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result. There is no specific treatment for SLEV infection; care is based on symptoms. You can reduce your risk of being infected with SLEV by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying indoors while mosquitoes are most active. If you think you or a family member may have SLEV neuroinvasive disease, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis.
- Page last reviewed: October 22, 2009
- Page last updated: November 8, 2017
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