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Published On: Wed, Oct 2nd, 2013

Florida: Martin County sentinel chicken program reveals the presence of St. Louis encephalitis virus

In the same area of Martin County, Florida where they have reported at least 20 locally acquired cases of the mosquito borne viral disease, dengue fever, health officials announced today that sentinel chickens has revealed the presence of another mosquito borne virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV), according to an Oct. 2 press release.

Culex nigripalpus mosquito Image/CDC

Culex nigripalpus mosquito
Image/CDC

Specifically, the virus was found in sentinel chickens in the Jensen Beach and Indiantown areas. The Rio and Jensen Beach area is considered the epicenter of the dengue outbreak.

There has been no human cases of SLEV reported to date.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.

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.

There is no vaccine against St. Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV). Reducing exposure to mosquitoes is the best defense against infection with SLEV and other mosquito-borne viruses.

The Florida Department of Health reminds the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts.  These include remembering to “Drain and Cover”.

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying, COVER skin with clothing or repellent and COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

For more information on what repellent is right for you, consider using the EPA search tool to help you choose skin-applied repellent products.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Florida: New case of dengue fever brings Martin County total to 21 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] On Wednesday, Martin County health officials reported that the sentinel chicken program had detected the presence of another mosquito borne virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus. […]

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