Assemblyman Dave Elder (D-Long Beach) is to be commended for introducing Assembly Bill 2537, which would provide emergency funding for the fight against mosquito-borne encephalitis. It is my understanding that AB 2537 is currently awaiting action in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Elder should be supported with his efforts toward encephalitis prevention and control in Southern California.
According to a report submitted to the Board of Supervisors by Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Officer James C. Hankla, only one case of mosquito-borne encephalitis was reported in Los Angeles prior to 1983. During 1983, nine cases were reported in California, and by the end of 1984 26 cases of St. Louis encephalitis were confirmed in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego. Hankla indicates that 16 of these cases were in Los Angeles County, with one resulting in death. A frightening fact is that nationwide research indicates that for every diagnosed case of encephalitis there are at least 200 undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases.
AB 2537 would provide $1.1 million in emergency funding for encephalitis prevention and control in specified areas of Southern California, including Los Angeles County. I personally commend Elder for his efforts and I am hopeful that the Legislature and Gov. George Deukmejian will pass AB 2537 into law.
JAMES EARLE CHRISTO
Mayor of Bellflower