Murray Valley encephalitis virus detected in Murray River Council

Murray River Council

The Murray River Council community are encouraged to take measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites following the detection of Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus.

The virus was detected through routine mosquito trapping carried out as a part of Council's arbovirus surveillance program.

MVE virus is spread by mosquitos 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.

Executive Director of Health Protection NSW, Dr Richard Broome said most people who are infected with the virus that causes MVE do not have any symptoms.

"Only a small proportion of people infected with the virus will experience symptoms, which include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and muscle aches," Dr Broome said.

"There is no vaccination or specific treatment for MVE and the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which are most active between dusk and dawn."

"Avoiding mosquito bites will also protect against other mosquito-borne infections including Japanese encephalitis, Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest virus."

Murray River Council's Environmental Health Coordinator, Melissa Best said testing is regularly carried out on mozzie populations within the region 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.

"Recent flooding has led to a boom in mosquito numbers, so we are ensuring we are regularly testing the mozzies in our area."

"And now with the recent detection of JEV we are urging everyone to protect themselves by regularly applying repellent to all exposed skin areas, wearing covered clothing and footwear when outside, and mosquito-proofing your home," Ms Best said.

People in the area are urged to take actions to prevent mosquito bites to protect against all mosquito-borne viruses. 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 mosquitos (mosquito coils should only be used outside).
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