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La. Officials Warn Vs. Encephalitis

September 14, 1999

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ People and around Louisiana’s capital are being warned to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and insect repellent because Eastern equine encephalitis _ the disease’s deadliest strain _ has shown up in the area’s mosquitoes.

Although only two people have been infected and both recovered, Eastern equine encephalitis kills 30 to 60 percent of the people it strikes, according to Dr. Jerome Goddard, medical entomologist for the Mississippi Department of Health.

The outbreak has killed dozens of horses and emus in Louisiana, and officials are trying to contain the disease by spraying pesticides by plane. Ponds are being treated regularly to kill mosquito larvae.

Eastern equine is the worst form of mosquito-borne encephalitis in North America. The St. Louis strain, which has killed three people in New York City in the past month, generally kills 3 to 20 percent of its victims, Goddard said.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Tuesday 90 percent of the city’s mosquitoes have been killed by aerial and ground spraying of pesticides.

The city has reported a total of 11 cases of St. Louis encephalitis; officials are awaiting lab results for 74 other people who may have been infected.

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