NSW new first Japanese encephalitis case this summer identified

Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection has been identified in a Lake Cargelligo resident, the first NSW case of JE this mosquito season.

The case is in an older man from Lake Cargelligo who is likely to have acquired the infection in early November. He is continuing to recover at home from an unrelated illness.

NSW Health Executive Director, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said the detection of JE in the Lachlan Shire is a timely reminder to locals and visitors to the area to be especially vigilant and safeguard themselves against mosquito bites this summer.

"Mosquitoes in NSW can carry a range of viruses, including Murray Valley Encephalitis virus, Kunjin virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, as well as JE virus. Vaccine is only available for JE, so avoiding mosquito bites is the most important way of preventing these infections," Dr McAnulty said.

"As the summer holidays approach and people look forward to spending time enjoying the outdoors it is vital everyone takes action to prevent mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly to all areas of exposed skin, wearing loose, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing and covered footwear when outside, staying indoors at dawn and dusk and mosquito proofing homes."

Dr McAnulty also reminded the community that people aged two months or older who live or routinely work in at risk Local Government Areas are eligible for free vaccination if they are regularly outdoors for long periods or assisting with the flood clean up.

Everyone staying in the community is 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).

NSW Health is working with the local council to resupply the community with insect repellent and ensure signage and local mosquito control measures are put in place where necessary. Local recreation services have been supplied with additional repellent.

JE vaccination clinics are being planned by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District for Lake Cargelligo in early January. The district will work closely with the local general practitioner and keep the community advised.

Supply of JE vaccine continues to be severely constrained in Australia. Nevertheless, people who are eligible for vaccination in the 41 higher risk LGAs are urged to speak to their GP or pharmacist about vaccination with the supply available. Additional vaccines are expected to arrive in the first part of 2023.

For further information on JE virus and ways to protect yourself visit: Mosquito borne diseases

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.