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Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus has been detected in mosquitoes in northern Victoria, marking the first detection of the virus in Victoria in over 10 years.
The last human cases of MVE virus infection in Victoria were reported in 1974 following significant flooding. Human cases were also reported in NSW and South Australia in 2011, the Victorian Health department has confirmed.
The best prevention is to protect against mosquito bites is to:
In a statement, Greater Shepparton Council said the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as MVE, Japanese encephalitis, Kunjin/West Nile Virus, and Ross River and Barmah Forest virus infections, was now considered high due to recent weather conditions and elevated mosquito numbers across Victoria.
“Most mosquito bites do not transmit infection but anyone is potentially at risk of mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases. People who work, live or spend time outdoors in rural or regional Victoria, particularly inland riverine regions and extending up towards the Murray River, have a higher risk of exposure to mosquitos,” the Council said.
Most people infected with MVE virus do not have symptoms. Less than 1% of people develop clinical disease. If symptoms develop, they typically start seven to 12 days after exposure but may occur anywhere from five to 28 days after exposure.
People with symptoms of MVE virus infection should seek urgent medical care. 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.
People who have been exposed to MVE virus are likely to have long-lasting immunity to subsequent infections.
For more information about mosquito borne disease please visit https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/campaigns/protect-yourself-mosquito-borne-disease.
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