​Kunjin infection is caused by Kunjin virus that is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

Last updated: 21 November 2022

What are the symptoms of Kunjin virus infection?

Most people with Kunjin virus infection do not have symptoms. Some people may have symptoms such as:

  • fever
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • rash
  • swollen and aching joints
  • headache, muscle weakness
  • fatigue.

If you get these symptoms, contact a doctor right away, or Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or in an emergency call Triple Zero (000) or visit your nearest emergency department.

Some people who get a severe infection may have lifelong neurological complications or even death.

How is the Kunjin virus spread?

Kunjin virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected animal (waterbirds and horses) and then this mosquito bites a person. The mosquito is especially common around the Murray Darling River basin areas in NSW during summer and into autumn.

Who has a higher chance of getting Kunjin virus infection?

People working, living or visiting areas of rural NSW where there are rivers, wetlands, flooded areas or heavily irrigated areas.

How do I avoid the Kunjin virus?

There is currently no vaccine against Kunjin virus infection. The best way to avoid the virus is to not get bitten by mosquitoes. Protect yourself:

  • use insect repellent. The best mosquito repellents have diethyltoluamide (DEET), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • wear long, loose fitting and light-coloured clothing and covered shoes when outside
  • do not spend lots of time outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • cover all windows, doors, vents, and other entranced with insect screens
  • remove any containers that hold water where mosquitoes may breed
  • use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (inside), and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms and repel mosquitoes from an area
  • use mosquito nets or screens.

How do you know if you have Kunjin virus infection?

If you have the symptoms listed above, a doctor may run a blood test to find you have antibodies to Kunjin virus. Blood samples are taken when you have symptoms and then again two weeks later. This will check to see if there has been a change in the antibody levels.

How is Kunjin virus infection treated?

There is no specific treatment available for Kunjin virus infection. Some people with Kunjin virus infection will require treatment in hospital, sometimes in intensive care.

What is the public health response?

When laboratories confirm Kunjin virus infection, they notify their local public health unit. Public health units follow up on each case to work out where the person got the infection and assess if there is an ongoing public health risk.

  • For further information please call your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.
  • Visit the mosquito borne diseases section of the NSW Health website.

Contact page owner: One Health