New South Wales has registered the first human infection case of the infamous Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).
The individual is a resident in the border region of NSW-Victoria and is in a stable state in intensive treatment.
Many more people living in NSW are being tested, and further instances of this virus that is transmitted through mosquitoes are anticipated within the coming weeks.
The JEV virus is now a matter of national significance. The Health Department has alerted the mass to be on the lookout and do as much they can guard against mosquitoes as the JEV specific treatment isn’t available yet.
Queensland reported the first case of human JEV -an older woman aged 60 who is critically ill and placed being treated for life-threatening illness following an outing camping in the state’s south.
Her diagnosis is based on discovering Japanese Encephalitis in animal samples collected from the Goondiwindi commercial piggery in the state’s south.
JEV may cause serious neurological disorders, including convulsions, headaches, and decreased consciousness in certain cases.
The virus can infect both animals and humans, as recently discovered by examining samples from various pig farms located in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria.
Locally-acquired instances of JEV were never found in NSW for humans or animals because JEV is generally only found in northern Australia and the neighboring countries.
Mosquito control activities are being conducted near farms where pigs have been found to have contracted JEV as well NSW Health is arranging vaccinations for employees on affected farms.
The virus cannot be passed between humans and is not transmitted by eating pork products or pig meat.
The Acting Chief Health Officer of NSW Marianne Gale said the best method to prevent illness was to stay away from being at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes. They are active from dawn and dusk.
“NSW Health has a warning for those who are planning outdoor activities like fishing or camping to take note of your plans,” Dr. Gale said.
NSW Health is working closely with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and other state and territorial agencies to assess to what extent the virus is in circulation, using the testing of animals and mosquito monitoring.