Japanese encephalitis virus in Australia (New South Wales)
01 Mar 2022
Health authorities in New South Wales, Australia have warned that Japanese encephalitis virus has been found in samples from pig farms in southern and western parts of the state.
At this time, there have been no human cases but it is likely that the virus is circulating in the local mosquito population. People in New South Wales are being advised to avoid mosquito bites.
Japanese encephalitis is an infection spread from animals (mainly pigs or birds) to humans through mosquito bites. The infection can cause inflammation of the brain. The mosquito that spreads the infection bites people mostly in the evening hours.
Advice for Travellers
The risk for most travellers to countries which are endemic or with an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis is very small. This risk is greater if you will be:
- travelling to remote or rural areas during transmission seasons
- participating in outdoor activities especially around pig farms, rice fields or wetlands where the mosquitoes feed (bite) during evening hours
- travelling to a risk area for a prolonged period of time
The best way to protect yourself against Japanese Encephalitis is by avoiding mosquito bites, especially in the evening when this mosquito is most active.
Before you travel, consider how you will protect yourself from mosquito bites during your trip. This involves:
- using good quality insect repellents
- wearing the right clothing to protect your skin from bites
- using a mosquito net
- reducing the number of mosquitos in and around your accommodation
You should also be aware of how to treat bites if they occur.
A vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is available for those considered to be at high risk.
For further information, see the Japanese Encephalitis page