During the months of August and September of 1962 the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, experienced an outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis. The United States Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta soon labeled the outbreak a "major epidemic" as it spread into nearly all areas of surrounding Pinellas County. The first case of the disease was reported on July 24 and the outbreak was not officially considered to have ended until September 28. During that time the various public health agencies and the press reported between 140 and 190 cases. Initially reports claimed that fourteen people had died of encephalitis,1 although a 1965 study reported thirty-eight deaths in Pinellas County.2
"A Plague in Paradise: Public Health and Public Relations During the 1962 Encephalitis Epidemic in St. Petersburg, Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 85:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol85/iss4/3