Mosquito-borne encephalitis virus detected

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus spread to humans through mosquito bites.

In the last week JEV has been detected in pigs in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

No cases of JEV have been detected in humans, however several cases of encephalitis with no identified cause have been detected in NSW and SA in the past month.

Most JEV infections are asymptomatic, however those with severe infection (less than one per cent) may experience neck stiffness, coma, and more rarely, permanent neurological complications or death.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms, particularly if they’ve visited regions near the border of Victoria and New South Wales or been in contact with pigs, should seek urgent medical attention.

Avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent containing picaridin or DEET on all exposed skin. Wear long, loose fitting clothing when outside, and ensure accommodation, including tents, are properly fitted with mosquito nettings or screens.

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