Murray Valley Encephalitis virus detected in Griffith

Residents are encouraged to take measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites following the detection of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) virus in mosquitoes in Griffith this week.

MVE virus is spread by mosquitoes from infected animals to humans. Rarely, it causes severe neurological illness with headache, convulsions and reduced consciousness in some cases.

The virus cannot be transmitted between humans, and people cannot get the virus by touching an infected animal or eating animal products. No humans have contracted MVE this summer, but it has been detected in mosquitoes during monitoring in Griffith and other places such as Menindee.

Griffith City Council Director Sustainable Development, Bruce Gibbs said testing is regularly carried out on mozzie populations in Griffith to check for diseases including Murray Valley Encephalitis virus, Kunjin virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, as well as Japenese Encephalitis Virus, or JEV.

"Several mosquitoes have been detected with the potentially fatal Murray Valley Encephalitis virus in the area in the last week," said Mr Gibbs.

'Recent flooding has led to a boom in mosquito numbers. We urge everyone to protect themselves by regularly applying repellent to all exposed skin areas, wearing loose, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing and covered footwear when outside, staying indoors at dawn and dusk, and mosquito-proofing your home."

Protect yourself and your family by:

  • covering openings such as windows and doors with insect screens and checking there are no have gaps in them
  • removing items that might collect water (such as old tyres, empty pots) outside your house where mosquitoes can breed
  • improving drainage on your property so that water does not become stagnant
  • wearing light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered footwear and socks, especially around dusk and dawn
  • applying repellent to all areas of exposed skin, using repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • re-applying repellent regularly, particularly after swimming, being sure to always apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent
  • using insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units and mosquito coils to repel mosquitoes (mosquito coils should only be used outside).
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