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A group of 79 survivors of the 1962 St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) epidemic in Florida were studied serologically for persistence of complement-fixation (CF), hemagglutination-inhibition (HI) and serum neutralizing (SN) antibodies. SN antibodies were present in most cases, and persisted at moderate to high levels. Of the original 79, 12 had log neutralization indices of less than 1.8. In only three of these, all with <0.7 logs, was the original clinical and/or serologic classification considered to have been in error.
SLE antibodies were demonstrated at a titer of 1:8 or greater in 76.2% of the sera 18 to 22 months following infection. In 41.3% the CF antibodies persisted at the 1:16 or greater level.
SLE-HI antibody titers dropped rapidly over the 22-month period; in 68% of the individuals tested, they remained at a titer of 1:20 or greater.
Director, Encephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida.
Professor of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Virologist, Encephalitis Research Center, Florida State Board of Health, Tampa, Florida.
Research Associate, Department of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Medical Officer, and Director, respectively, Human Development Study Center, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, St. Petersburg, Florida.