Man in 60s dies from Japanese encephalitis in Victoria

Mar 09, 2022
Japanese Encephalitis has been de4tected in humans across Australia. Source: Getty

Just days after the Australian Department of Health released a warning about Japanese encephalitis (JE), the condition caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), it has been announced that a man in his 60s has died from the disease.

On Tuesday, March 8, the Victorian Health Department announced that following an autopsy of a man who died on February 28, it was discovered that the man died of JE.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time,” a statement from the Victorian Department read.

“We strongly advise people take steps to limit their exposure to mosquitoes and avoid mosquito habitats such as stagnant water.”

Investigations are ongoing into how the man contracted JEV. According to the Victorian department, there have been six other cases of JEV contracted in Victoria.

Cases have been found across Australia, originally thought to be sprouting from pig farms.

Queensland released a Public Health Alert about JEV on March 4, and has since recorded at least one case. In New South Wales, there have been two cases to date. The NSW Department of Health has announced that “several more people” were undergoing testing across NSW, and a man from the NSW town of Corowa was in intensive care in the Victorian healthcare system also.

The Guardian reported that “The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been discovered in more than 40 piggeries across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia within the past month.”

Health Protection Scotland has even put out a warning surrounding the virus, alerting travellers to Australia to the dangers of JE, and the locations it has been found.

According to the international body for encephalitis, The Encephalitis Society, more needs to be done in raising awareness and recognition of symptoms of JEV in Australia. The Encephalitis Society’s Chief Executive Dr Ava Easton shared:

“Encephalitis is a code-red condition that remains under-recognised.”

“As Australia faces ongoing extreme weather conditions we are urging all Australians to equip themselves with knowledge about this very real disease and to not dismiss it as a low-risk probability or something too rare to talk about,” Easton said.

However, there’s no need to fear that this virus will be anything like Covid-19, as the Federal Department of Health has announced that not only is there a vaccination already available for this virus, but that it can only be spread via being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected animal. So, stock up on bug spray, and stay indoors, and you’ll be right.

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