Entomologic Investigations of an Epidemic of St. Louis Encephalitis in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 1991

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  • Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jefferson County Health Department, Fort Collins, Colorado

An epidemic of St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) occurred in Jefferson County, Arkansas during July–August 1991. At least 26 human cases were involved, with 25 cases in the town of Pine Bluff. Twelve isolates of SLE virus were obtained from mosquitoes collected in Pine Bluff between August 13 and 24: 11 from pools of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus, resulting in a minimum infection rate of 1.6 per 1,000 (n = 6,768) for this subspecies, and one isolate from a pool of 22 mosquitoes identified as Cx. (Culex) spp. Three of the SLE-positive pools, two from Cx. p. quinquefasciatus and one from Cx. (Cux.) spp., also yielded isolates of Flanders virus. Larval surveys resulted in the collection of seven species in four genera from 28 larva-positive habitats and the identification of one significant site of Cx. p. quinquefasciatus production. Ecologic assessments conducted at 12 randomly selected residences resulted in the identification of 17 larva-positive habitats, for an average mosquito-positive habitat rate of 1.4 per residence, and a Cx. p. quinquefasciatus larva-positive habitat rate of 0.6 per residence. Aedes albopictus and Cx. p. quinquefasciatus were the species most frequently encountered in larval surveys in residential neighborhoods.