FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County reported its first positive case and death from St. Louis Encephalitis in 2022, according to the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Health officials say St. Louis Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the St. Louis Encephalitis virus and can produce inflammation of the brain.

“This positive case and unfortunate death is a strong reminder that everyone should take preventative measures to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites in order to prevent vector-borne diseases,” says Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

St. Louis Encephalitis can be transmitted through a bite from an infected Culex mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected with the virus after biting a bird infected with the virus. St. Louis Encephalitis virus is not transmitted from person to person.

Officials say you can protect against mosquito bites by practicing the “Three Ds”: 

1. DETER – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age. 

2. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes usually bite in the early mornings and evenings. It is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these hours of day. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes

3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property by emptying flowerpots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. Ensure windows and drains are covered with screens. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency. California’s WNV website includes the latest information on vector-borne disease (including SLEV) activity in the state.

For additional information, visit the Fresno County Department of Public Health’s website.