Nervous System Home > St. Louis Encephalitis
St. Louis encephalitis is the most common human disease caused by mosquitoes in the United States. Since 1964, there have been about 4,440 confirmed cases, with an average of 130 cases per year. Up to 3,000 cases have been reported during epidemics in some years. Many more infections occur without symptoms and, therefore, go undiagnosed.
There is no vaccine for St. Louis encephalitis. Prevention depends on public health action to control mosquitoes and on individual action to avoid mosquito bites. To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that can carry the virus:
- Stay inside when the mosquitoes are most active (between dusk and dark)
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors
- Spray exposed skin with insect repellent.