What is St. Louis Encephalitis?

A woman and child hiking

With the weather starting to cool off, you'll want to spend more time outside, but you'll need to be cautious. Recently, the St. Louis Encephalitis virus has been identified in El Paso County through mosquito traps. With increased exposure to St. Louis Encephalitis, knowing what it is and how to reduce your exposure is vital. See how you can reduce the risk of St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE).

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Are Wider Spread Than You Think

Mosquito-borne illnesses are much more dangerous than many people know. In fact, mosquitoes are considered the most dangerous animal in the world. This is because they can rapidly spread deadly diseases like West Nile and Malaria, and now, St. Louis Encephalitis. Visit our page on common mosquito diseases in El Paso to learn more about the risks in the area.

How dangerous is St. Louis Encephalitis?

According to the CDC, for many who are infected, St. Louis Encephalitis shows no symptoms. It can be challenging to track how widespread mosquito-borne illnesses are because, for many truly, it's not evident. Those who begin showing signs can get sick up to two weeks after infection. These symptoms can start abruptly and can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • General weakness

Over the next week, symptoms can progressively worsen before beginning to recover. For those who do not start to recover, some can develop central nervous system infections and severe symptoms such as:

  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Unsteadiness
  • In the most severe cases – Coma.

The disease tends to be milder in children and young adults, though the risks increase in older adults. Fatalities occur in 5 to 20% of those diagnosed with SLE.

Treatment of St. Louis Encephalitis

A proper diagnosis from a healthcare provider is necessary for the appropriate treatment of severe cases of SLE. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment available. Over-the-counter pain relievers are used for those infected to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization will be required to have access to supportive treatments, such as IV fluids, nursing care, and pain relief treatments.

Transmission of SLE

These infected birds, known as amplifying hosts, can pass on the virus to mosquitoes, who passMosquito it on to humans. Humans are known as dead-end hosts because an infected person cannot infect more mosquitoes with the virus if others feed on that person. The primary carriers of SLE are the Culex species of mosquitoes, primarily Cx. tarsalis and Cx. pipiens locally.

Preventing SLE

Protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites is essential in reducing the spread of SLE. When you are away from home, the best way to do this is with the use of insect repellents that are EPA-registered. Carefully follow the instructions on the labels. To protect children from mosquito bites, dress them in clothing that covers their arms and legs and use protective mosquito netting. Some insect repellents are available for children but do not apply to a child's hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or any irritated skin. Adults should spray the repellent into their hands before applying it carefully to a child's face.

Lower Your Risk with Mosquito Control from Mosquito Squad of El Paso

El Paso mosquito control is the most effective strategy to protect your family from the risks of mosquito bites causing St. Louis Encephalitis. Start by implementing the 7 T's of Mosquito Control around your home. These seven methods for minimizing mosquito exposure in your yard and around your home can help reduce the number of pesky mosquitos swarming around.

The 7 T's of Mosquito Control are:

  1. Tip over anything that may collect water, such as children's toys.
  2. Toss dispose of yard waste.
  3. Turn large yard items over, such as disused sandboxes and birdbaths
  4. Remove Tarps that aren't taut and may be retaining water.
  5. Take Care of clearing out gutters and similar home maintenance tasks.
  6. Team Up with neighbors to increase the safety of everyone's homes.
  7. Treat your yard with mosquito control.

For the final suggestion, "Treat," Mosquito Squad of El Paso can assist you in decreasing the mosquito activity on your property. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for your home. We can provide year-round mosquito control with services such as our most popular Traditional Mosquito Barrier Treatment. We can effectively keep 85-90% of mosquitos out of your yard for up to three weeks with our barrier treatment. Our expert mosquito control personnel will apply an EPA-registered product to your lawn that will begin working immediately upon contact.

Reduce the mosquitoes in your yard by following the 7 T's of mosquito control. Mosquito Squad of El Paso can help reduce your risk of contracting St. Louis Encephalitis with our traditional barrier treatment, which reduces mosquitoes by up to 90%. Contact us today or call us for a free quote.