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What is Japanese encephalitis? What do we know about the first confirmed Queensland case in 24 years?



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Queensland has recorded its first regionally acquired human case of mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis in additional than 20 years.

It has been declared a difficulty of nationwide significance, prompting warnings for folks to take precautions towards getting bitten by the bugs, significantly because the state’s south-east cleans up after the floods.

Here is what you should know concerning the discovery of the case.

What can we learn about the one that contracted the virus?

The girl is in her 60s and is in a vital situation on life help in Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital after a camper van journey to southern Queensland.

Her prognosis follows the latest detection of Japanese encephalitis in animal samples taken from a Goondiwindi industrial piggery, within the state’s south.

JEV is unfold by means of the chunk of an contaminated mosquito to folks and animals. In animals, it largely happens in pigs and horses.(Landline: ABC TV)

The virus — which transmits by means of mosquito bites and never human-to-human contact or by means of consuming pork — has additionally been discovered just lately in piggeries in South Australia, Victoria and NSW, together with one close to the Queensland border at Tenterfield.

Earlier this week, 4 Victorians had been identified with the virus in what are believed to be the primary circumstances recorded in southern Australia.

How severe is Japanese encephalitis?

Brisbane-based infectious illness doctor Paul Griffin stated whereas most individuals who developed Japanese encephalitis would solely expertise gentle signs, in uncommon, extreme circumstances, it may end in encephalitis — irritation of the mind — which is doubtlessly lethal.

Signs can embrace sudden onset of fever, vomiting, extreme headache, neck stiffness and sensitivity to mild.

Dr Paul Griffin, smiles, while wearing a blue suit with glasses.
Infectious illnesses knowledgeable Dr Paul Griffin says the emergence of the virus is just not linked to the floods, however the timing is unlucky.(Equipped)

“The principle factor everybody must know is that not everybody who will get this virus finally ends up with extreme encephalitis or the extreme manifestations — in most individuals that is not the case,” Dr Griffin stated.

“It’s one thing that we must always take significantly sufficient to take some easy steps to scale back our probability of it being an enormous drawback.”

What precautions ought to be taken?

Dr Griffin, an affiliate professor on the College of Queensland, stated folks ought to take measures to forestall mosquito bites.

This consists of using repellents containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) and thru sporting closed-in sneakers and unfastened, light-coloured clothes to cowl legs and arms.

Is it associated to the flooding?

No, however Dr Griffin stated the timing of Japanese encephalitis being present in jap Australia coinciding with a significant flood occasion was “unlucky“, given the potential for elevated mosquito breeding within the coming days.

“The virus has been there earlier than these immense rainfall occasions and clearly it is going to be the appropriate breeding floor for the mosquitoes now … so the timing is fairly horrible,” Dr Griffin stated.

“The standard issues we are saying about having pooled water round households will turn out to be more and more related as we begin to get the majority of the floodwater receded and lots of the clean-up occurring.

“If there’s any residual water sources in pot crops or different small containers, make sure that there isn’t any pooled water anyplace that may facilitate the expansion of mosquitoes.”

What about vaccinations?

Australia’s Performing Chief Medical Officer Sonya Bennett stated earlier this week work was underway for focused vaccinations to guard towards Japanese encephalitis.

However Dr Griffin stated a widespread vaccination marketing campaign, such because the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, wouldn’t be crucial.

“It is extra seemingly one thing we might do on a specific danger foundation and so individuals who work with pigs, particularly, could be highest on the record,” he stated.