Human outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis detected in Argentina, 2005

Lorena I. Spinsanti, Luis A. Díaz, Nora Glatstein, Sergio Arselán, María A. Morales, Adrián A. Farías, Cintia Fabbri, Juán J. Aguilar, Viviana Ré, María Frías, Walter R. Almirón, Elizabeth Hunsperger, Marina Siirin, Amelia Travassos Da Rosa, Robert B. Tesh, Delia Enría, Marta Contigiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Background: An outbreak of flavivirus encephalitis occurred in 2005 in Córdoba province, Argentina. Objectives: To characterize the epidemiologic and clinical features of that outbreak and provide the serologic results that identified St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) as the etiologic agent. Study design: From January to May 2005, patients with symptoms of encephalitis, meningitis, or fever with severe headache were evaluated and an etiologic diagnosis achieved by detection of flavivirus-specific antibody sera and cerebrospinal fluid. Results: The epidemic curve of 47 cases showed an explosive outbreak starting in January 2005 with one peak in mid-February and a second peak in mid-March; the epidemic ended in May. Cases occurred predominantly among persons 60 years and older. Nine deaths were reported. SLEV antibodies, when detected in 47 patients studied, had a pattern characteristic of a primary SLEV infection. Conclusions: Even though isolated cases of St. Louis encephalitis have been reported in Argentina, this is the first description of a large SLEV encephalitis outbreak in Argentina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Argentina
  • Encephalitis outbreak
  • SLEV antibodies
  • St. Louis encephalitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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