Kings County Health confirms St. Louis encephalitis case

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Kings County Health confirms St. Louis encephalitis case

The Kings County Department of Public Health (KCDPH) has received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a human case of St. Louis encephalitis (SLEV) in Kings County. This brings the state-wide total to thirteen (13) human cases throughout six (6) counties.

“Human cases of St. Louis encephalitis are extremely rare, and it has been decades since we last saw one in Kings County,” said Milton Teske, MD, Kings County Health Officer. “The risk to residents remains extremely low, and everyone should continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

According to CDPH, most people infected with SLEV don't have symptoms, but in rare cases, SLEV can cause swelling or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and lead to death. Older adults are the most likely to get sick if infected. The symptoms and transmission of SLEV are similar to West Nile virus (WNV), but SLEV is less common in California than WNV. Mosquitos become infected with SLEV after biting a bird that is carrying the virus, and SLEV is not spread from person to person.

The best way to prevent SLEV is to prevent mosquito bites, and the public can protect themselves by practicing the “Three D’s”: 

1.            DEET – Apply insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or Insect Repellent 3535 (IR3535) according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should be used according to the label instructions for children.

2.            DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk; therefore, individuals should wear protective clothing when they are out during these hours. In addition, residents should strongly consider replacing door and window screens that have holes or that do not close properly.

3.            DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Remove all sources of standing water near your home by emptying flowerpots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers.

The community is encouraged to report any swimming pool that is not being properly maintained. Please contact the Kings Mosquito Abatement District (KMAD), as it provides mosquito fish for swimming pools, backyard ponds, and horse troughs free of charge. To contact the district, please call (559) 584-3326 or via their website at:

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