Five years ago, while at search and rescue training in Northern CA, another volunteer and I were bit numerous times by mosquitoes. In fact, we were absolutely covered with mosquitoes. Within a week, both of us became very ill with severe flu-like symptoms. We both had a high fever, severe headache, nausea, vertigo, extreme weakness, photosensitivity, irritability, sore throat, stiff neck, swollen glands, and body aches. The acute stage lasted about three weeks, but both of us remained exhausted, nauseated and weak for well over a year. It was almost impossible to walk across the street to the mailbox without collapsing. The effects on our lives were devastating.
We both slowly recovered but still have episodes, usually brought on by overwork, lack of sleep, or illness, once or twice a year. Each of us saw doctors who tested us for Lyme, West Nile, and other diseases. All blood tests were negative. After no obvious causes could be pinpointed, both our doctors diagnosed us with the catch all of Chronic Fatigue.
Both Western Equine Encephalitis and St. Luis Encephalitis have been found in mosquitoes and many carrier birds in the area. Our symptoms mirror SLE, but nowhere in the literature are indications of reoccurring episodes.