Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases of SLEV disease have occurred in eastern and central states (see map). Most people 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 are no vaccines to prevent nor medications to treat SLEV. Care is based on symptoms. You can reduce your risk of being infected with SLEV by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, 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: May 31, 2018
- Page last updated: May 31, 2018
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