Mosquitoes test positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis


The same mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus have been found in northwest Fresno with another potentially deadly virus. Now, health officials are warning neighbors as the heat starts bringing out mosquitoes.

“It’s just weird man,” said Fresno resident Angelo Cruz. “You don’t hear about that here in Fresno.”

Angelo Cruz shouldn’t have to worry about his 4-year-old son Angelo playing in the backyard.

“We went and bought a few cans of Off,” said Cruz. “He sweats it off, especially with it being so hot, we keep reapplying it.”

He’s concerned after hearing mosquitoes tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis or the SLE virus nearby at Bullard and Polk.

“We put it up as soon as we heard so if he wanted to come play outside,” Cruz said. “We let him come play out here for the time being.”

The state told Fresno County health officials Friday about the virus.

“Multiple mosquitoes were found to have this virus and which is a concern to us as the Department of Public Health,” said Leticia Berber with the Department of Public Health.

The virus can cause inflammation of the brain, health officials said. Most people with SLE don’t feel any symptoms, but they can include fever, headache and dizziness.

The elderly are most at risk and severe symptoms could lead to a coma, convulsions, paralysis, or even a chance of death.

“It’s a very rare disease,” said Berber. “Last year, we had one human case, so it is very rare.”

Last year, one person had it in Tranquility and survived. No human cases have been reported so far this year in Fresno County, according to health officials.

Health officials warn neighbors to get rid of stagnant water, which Cruz has already done.

“[I] put some dirt on it, you know what I mean, to cover any standing water,” said Cruz.

Cruz said he and his family are considering leaving for the coast in part because of the virus and also to beat the heat.

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