Country NSW man becomes fifth Australian to die of Japanese encephalitis this year

A man from New South Wales has been confirmed as the fifth Australian to die Japanese encephalitis this year.

The man in his sixties from Corowa on the NSW-Victoria border contracted the disease in early March.

He died Friday at Albury Base Hospital, NSW Health confirmed in a statement.

Japanese encephalitis kills about a quarter of its victims.
There is no treatment for acute Japanese encephalitis. (delivered)

Thirteen people have been infected with Japanese encephalitis in the past year and two have died.

The first NSW death from Japanese encephalitis this year was a man in his 70s from the town of Griffith in Riverina.

People considered to be at higher risk of exposure include workers in piggeries, animal transport, veterinarians and students who work with pigs, lab workers who deal with Japanese encephalitis, entomologists and others who capture animals and mosquitoes for surveillance .

NSW Health said people in those groups should talk to their doctors about vaccination against the disease.

What is the Japanese encephalitis virus?

The Japanese encephalitis virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito.

It is common in much of Asia and the Western Pacific, including India, most of China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Japan.

Most people who contract the virus experience no symptoms, or have mild symptoms such as a headache or fever.

A person with a serious illness may experience inflammation of the brain, sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and chills, severe headache, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and nausea.

Japanese encephalitis cannot be spread from person to person.

Pigs on the farm
The virus is known to be present in 14 Australian pig houses. (delivered)

Japanese encephalitis in pigs

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Mark Schipp, said JEV had been confirmed in 14 pig houses in NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

dr. Schipp said the virus cannot be contracted by eating pork from infected pigs.

“We ask anyone who works with pigs or horses, even if it’s a backyard pet, to monitor and report any signs of this disease.

“The most common symptoms in pigs are mummified or stillborn piglets, or piglets that show neurological problems in the first six months of life.

“The disease is usually asymptomatic in adult sows, but boars can experience infertility and testicular blockage.”

How to avoid Japanese encephalitis?

The best way to avoid getting the Japanese encephalitis virus is to do your best to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

While mosquito bites can occur at any time of the day, Queensland Health warns that sunrise and sunset are the times of greatest risk.

“Near your home, it’s important to inspect for common mosquito breeding grounds, clear up debris and ensure you empty, sweep and store all outdoor containers in a dry place,” Queensland Health said in a statement.

“It’s also important to make sure screens are in good condition so mosquitoes can’t easily enter your home.”

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said people should be extra careful not to get bitten by mosquitoes, “particularly given the recent flooding which could lead to an increase in mosquito numbers in the coming weeks”.

“Especially with these floods, there will be a lot of standing water around houses, and we ask that you remove that water during the cleanup to reduce the risk of mosquitoes.”

Vaccines are available in Australia for the Japanese encephalitis virus, but most people have not received it.

mosquito bite
The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Simple actions to prevent mosquito bites

Things you can do to prevent mosquito bites include:

  • When outside, cover as much as possible with light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear.
  • Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin and reapply within a few hours. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET), Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Use insecticide sprays, vapor dispensers (indoors), and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms or keep mosquitoes out of an area.
  • Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with screens.
  • Remove all water-containing containers outside the house where mosquitoes can breed.

How to treat Japanese encephalitis?

There is no specific treatment for acute Japanese encephalitis.

Of those who develop the acute neurological disease, about 30 percent do not survive.

For those who do, about half will have long-term neurological effects.

Less than one percent of those infected with encephalitis viruses eventually develop acute symptoms.

#Country #NSW #man #Australian #die #Japanese #encephalitis #year

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *