Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus infection has been identified in a Lake Cargelligo resident, the first NSW case of JE this mosquito season.
The case is in an older man from Lake Cargelligo who is likely to have acquired the infection in early November. He is continuing to recover at home from an unrelated illness.
NSW Health Executive Director, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said the detection of JE in the Lachlan Shire is a timely reminder to locals and visitors to the area to be especially vigilant and safeguard themselves against mosquito bites this summer.
“Mosquitoes in NSW can carry a range of viruses, including Murray Valley Encephalitis virus, Kunjin virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, as well as JE virus. Vaccine is only available for JE, so avoiding mosquito bites is the most important way of preventing these infections,” Dr McAnulty said.
“As the summer holidays approach and people look forward to spending time enjoying the outdoors it is vital everyone takes action to prevent mosquito bites by applying repellent regularly to all areas of exposed skin, wearing loose, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing and covered footwear when outside, staying indoors at dawn and dusk and mosquito proofing homes.”
Dr McAnulty also reminded the community that people aged two months or older who live or routinely work in at risk Local Government Areas are eligible for free vaccination if they are regularly outdoors for long periods or assisting with the flood clean up.
Everyone staying in the community is urged to take actions to prevent mosquito bites to protect against all mosquito-borne viruses. Protect yourself and your family by:
NSW Health is working with the local council to resupply the community with insect repellent and ensure signage and local mosquito control measures are put in place where necessary. Local recreation services have been supplied with additional repellent.
JE vaccination clinics are being planned by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District for Lake Cargelligo in early January. The district will work closely with the local general practitioner and keep the community advised.
Supply of JE vaccine continues to be severely constrained in Australia. Nevertheless, people who are eligible for vaccination in the 41 higher risk LGAs are urged to speak to their GP or pharmacist about vaccination with the supply available. Additional vaccines are expected to arrive in the first part of 2023.
For further information on JE virus and ways to protect yourself visit: Mosquito borne diseases