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Japanese encephalitis spread increases in Victoria

Sheep Central, April 13, 2022

Victorians have been warned as Japanese encephalitis cases increase. Image – James Gathany, CDC.

VICTORIANS have again been reminded to avoid mosquito bites as the number of properties with confirmed Japanese encephalitis cases increases.

Agriculture Victoria said there are now a total of 21 properties with pigs confirmed with Japanese encephalitis in Victoria, two more than was reported last week.

These are located across the Wangaratta, Moira, Greater Shepparton, Campaspe, Gannawarra, Loddon, Greater Bendigo and Northern Grampians local government areas. A number of suspected cases are under investigation.

Agriculture Victoria said the detections are the result of national surveillance efforts to identify new cases and determine the extent and spread of the disease and the source of its introduction.

Japanese encephalitis has also been confirmed in piggeries in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and in a small number of feral pigs in the Northern Territory.

Agriculture Victoria is working closely with industry, conducting surveillance activities and providing advice and information to farmers, livestock and horse owners.

Infection is not spread directly from pigs to people, and there is no risk to humans from eating pig meat. Only infected mosquitoes can spread infection. Pork is safe to eat.

In general, spread is through the movement of some species of migratory water birds and through the movement of infected mosquitoes, often over long distances. It does not usually spread directly from animal to animal (i.e. it is not considered contagious), Agriculture Victoria said.

Japanese encephalitis vaccines are recommended for people at a higher risk of exposure to the virus, such as those working with pigs. All people should undertake measures to reduce exposure to mosquitoes.

For more information about Japanese encephalitis virus and animals visit Agriculture Victoria’s website: agriculture.vic.gov.au/je

For more information about Japanese encephalitis virus and human health contact your GP or phone NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 606 024, or go to www.health.vic.gov.au/jev

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