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St. Louis Encephalitis in Children During the 1964 Epidemic

Fred F. Barrett, MD; Martha D. Yow, MD; C. Alan Phillips, MD
JAMA. 1965;193(5):381-385. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090050057015.
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During the late summer and early fall of 1964 an epidemic of St. Louis encephalitis occurred in Houston. In the three-month period from July to October 1964, 50 patients were admitted to the pediatric service of Ben Taub General Hospital with a preliminary diagnosis of viral meningoencephalitis. Early in the period of study there was nothing to suggest that the viruses causing the central-nervous-system disease were other than the usual endemic enteroviruses which are prevalent in Houston in midsummer.1 However, an unusual incidence of severe meningoencephalitis among adults, with a number of fatalities,2 suggested that a new viral agent had entered the community.

Brain tissue was obtained at postmortem examination from several adults with meningoencephalitis. Microscopic examination of the tissue revealed pathological findings consistent with a diagnosis of St. Louis encephalitis. Preliminary blood samples obtained from adult as well as pediatric patients demonstrated serologic evidence of St. Louis


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