STOCKTON (CBS13) — For the first time in nearly a half-century, San Joaquin County health officials say they have confirmed a human case of St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV).
Back in August, county public health officials say they found SLEV in mosquitoes collected near Lodi. It was the first time since 1973 that officials had detected the virus in the county.
Then, on Thursday, public health officials announced that a Stockton resident had a confirmed case of SLEV. That person becomes the first human case of SLEV in San Joaquin County since 1973.
The person’s current condition was not stated, but health officials said they were recovering at home.
SLEV is a disease that could cause serious swelling of the brain (known and encephalitis), although most people infected either have minor symptoms or don’t ever develop any.
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People can be infected with the virus when they are bitten by a mosquito who was also infected, often after biting a bird with SLEV. Health officials note that SLEV cannot be spread from person to person.
Health officials say SLEV is less common in California than West Nile virus, a disease with similar symptoms and way of transmission. As of Thursday, only one human case of West Nile virus had been reported in San Joaquin County this year.
Stanislaus County also recently found some mosquitos with SLEV, but no human cases have been confirmed in that area.