Presence of St. Louis encephalitis found in Scotts Bluff County

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - (KNEP) - The Panhandle Public Health District is cautioning Scotts Bluff County residents of the presence of a West Nile like disease.

According to PPHD, even though mosquito traps didn’t test positive for West Nile in Scotts Bluff County, they did test positive for St. Louis encephalitis. This disease has symptoms similar to West Nile.

According to the CDC, less than 1% of infections are clinically apparent and a majority of the infections remain undiagnosed. Onset of illness is abrupt and ranges from five to fifteen days after the original mosquito bite. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, and malaise.

Symptoms can intensify over a period of several days to a week. Some individuals recover after the period with others developing signs of central nervous system infections and worse case falling into a coma. The disease is generally milder in children than in older adults. The overall case-fatality ratio is 5 to 15%. The risk of fatal disease increases with age.

At this time there are no reports of human cases of St. Louis encephalitis.