San Joaquin Public Health Services announced the first human case of St. Louis encephalitis was found in the county — the first human report of the disease since 1973.
In a news release on Oct. 22, the health services office said the person who contracted the encephalitis lives in Stockton and was recovering in their home.
In mid-august the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District announced the encephalitis virus had been discovered in a group of mosquitoes trapped in the Lodi area.
The virus, which is related to West Nile virus, has not been seen in the county since 1973.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the St. Louis encephalitis virus is transmitted to people when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes, which pick up the virus from infected birds. It cannot spread directly from person to person. Most people who catch the St. Louis encephalitis virus don’t show any signs of illness. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. In severe cases, an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis can occur, more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, the result can be long-term disability or death. There are no vaccines to prevent infection, nor medications to treat it.
To help reduce the risk of getting mosquito-transmitted diseases people should take the following precautions:
- Eliminate standing water on your property where mosquitoes can breed
- Apply an insect repellant when outdoors that contains an active ingredient, including DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, especially the first two hours after sunset.
- Wear loose fitting, long sleeve shirts and long pants
- Make sure screens are tight fitting on windows and doors
People can report daytime biting mosquitoes or large mosquito infestations to the San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District at 982-4675 or 1-800-300-4675, or at www.sjmosquito.org.