Health officials in Argentina reported a total of seven confirmed cases of Saint Louis encephalitis (SLE) this season to date (from epidemiological week (EW) 31 of 2022 and EW 24 of 2023).
Four of the cases were reported from Buenos Aires and three in Entre Ríos. Through EW 24, two deceased cases were reported, both residents of Entre Rios.
SLE is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) and can produce inflammation of the brain. People contract SLE from the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected with the virus after biting a bird infected with SLEV. SLEV is not transmitted person to person.
Symptoms usually start abruptly, with fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, and generalized weakness which typically get worse over a period of several days to a week. Some patients recover after this period. Most infections are mild or with no symptoms, however, others may develop signs of central nervous system infections, including stiff neck, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, tremors, and unsteadiness. Coma can develop in severe cases. There are no vaccines to prevent or medicines to treat SLE.
In Argentina, surveillance of arboviral infections is carried out in an integrated manner within the framework of surveillance of acute febrile syndrome non-specific and of the cases that meet specific definitions for each of the arboviral diseases; notification is made to through the National Health Surveillance System (SNVS2.0). The integrated surveillance of arboviruses includes the study of dengue, Zika fever, chikungunya fever, yellow fever, Saint Louis encephalitis and West Nile fever, among other etiological agents; likewise, surveillance of non-specific acute febrile syndrome integrates pathologies such as hantavirosis, leptospirosis and malaria, according to the epidemiological context of the area and the epidemiological background.
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