Department of Health

More detections of Murray Valley encephalitis in mosquitoes

13/01/23

Victorians living or holidaying in northern parts of the state are being warned of a current and active risk of contracting Murray Valley encephalitis, following further detections of this virus in trapped mosquitoes in additional locations.

Murray Valley encephalitis has this week been detected in the local government areas of Loddon, Indigo and Mildura. This follows detections reported last week in Bendigo and Mildura – which were the first detections of Murray Valley encephalitis in more than ten years through mosquito surveillance programs.

"While there are currently no cases in humans, these detections mean there is an imminent risk to human health, so we are urging people in northern Victoria to take immediate steps to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes,” Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Associate Professor Deborah Friedman said.

"Avoid being outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn, cover up with light-coloured, long-sleeved, loose-fitting clothing, regularly apply insect repellent, and get rid of water that mosquitoes breed in around your home."

Most people infected with Murray Valley encephalitis do not have symptoms. However, in a small number of people, a life-threatening infection can result. If symptoms develop, they typically start 7 to 12 days after exposure but may occur anywhere from 5 to 28 days after exposure.

Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches. In rare cases, people can develop meningitis or encephalitis and have symptoms of severe headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to bright lights, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness or coma.

Serious illness can result in death or long-term neurological complications.

There is no vaccine currently available for Murray Valley encephalitis virus.

Additional information about Murray Valley encephalitis is also available on Better Health Channel.

More tips on protecting yourself from mosquito-borne diseases are also available on Better Health Channel.

Reviewed 13 January 2023

Was this page helpful?