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California Encephalitis

California encephalitis is yet another human illness spread by mosquitoes and caused by a California encephalitis virus group. This condition is endemic to the midwestern United States and primarily affects children between 5-10 years of age.
California encephalitis (CE) virus was first isolated in 1943 from mosquitoes collected in Kern County, California. There are now over 10 know viruses in the group of related viruses, classified as the California serogroup within the genus Bunyavirus, family Bunyaviridae. Several other human pathogens (e.g., Jamestown Canyon virus, La Crosse virus, and Tahyna virus) also belong to the California serogroup.
This group of viruses is known to cause symptoms ranging from a mild meningoencephalitis (undifferentiated fever, febrile headache, respiratory distress, aseptic meningitis, and vomiting, abdominal pain) to encephalitis and coma. However, since the three original cases from California, no further cases of human disease caused by the prototype California encephalitis had been reported. On the other hand, California serogroup virus infections are now the most commonly reported cause of arboviral encephalitis in the United States. Adults usually have a mild undifferentiated febrile illness on unapparent infections whereas children generally present with acute CNS disease.
Rodents and lagomorphs are the main wild hosts and reservoirs in North America while Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, Culiseta and Psorophora mosquitoes are main vectors of the CE. There is evidence that CE Group viruses are often transmitted transovarially from generation to generation in the vectors.
During the period of 1963 to 1981, 1348 confirmed or presumptive cases of CE were reported to the CDC and 95% of these were from Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and New York.
Apart from the Americas, cases of the disease have been reported from Africa and Europe and there has been a recent isolate of Snow Shoe Hare-like virus in China.


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by Marshall