Department of Health

Japanese encephalitis case confirmed in Victoria

29/12/22

A case of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been identified in a Campaspe LGA resident, the first identified case of JEV in Victoria this mosquito season.

The case is a man in his 20s, who is likely to have acquired the infection in early November. He has recovered from his illness. 

The recent flooding and heavy rainfall across the state have created a greater risk of infections spread by mosquitoes this season.

Victorians are encouraged to remain vigilant and avoid exposure to mosquitoes, and eligible people are encouraged to get vaccinated against the JE virus.

“Taking steps to minimise mosquito bites is extremely important and should be taken by all Victorians, no matter where you live,” Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Associate Professor Deborah Friedman said.

“People should reduce their exposure to mosquitoes by covering up with light-coloured, long sleeved, loose-fitting clothing, regularly apply insect repellent, get rid of water that mosquitoes breed in around their home, and avoid areas with lots of mosquitoes, especially at dusk and dawn.”

Vaccination against JEV is now available free for high-risk groups.  Supply of JE vaccine continues to be severely constrained in Australia. People who are eligible are urged to speak to their GP or pharmacist about vaccination. Additional vaccines are expected to arrive in the first part of 2023. For the full eligibility criteria, visit the Japanese encephalitis virus page.

While most people infected will not experience any symptoms or only mild symptoms, a small proportion will develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can be fatal or cause long-term neurological damage. Symptoms of JEV to be aware of include fever, confusion, headaches, tremors, drowsiness, neck stiffness and seizures. 

More information and advice regarding Japanese encephalitis is available at Better Health Channel.

Reviewed 30 December 2022

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