Victorian Man Passes Away due to Japanese Encephalitis Virus

By Hari Yellina
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In Australia, nine human cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been verified, including six in Victoria, one in Queensland, and two in New South Wales. On 28 February, a man in his 60s from northern Victoria died of the virus, and autopsy results revealed JEV as the cause on Tuesday. The Australian government’s health department is looking into dozens of suspected cases around the country, with South Australian authorities suspecting four in particular. Minister for Health Martin Foley said the state’s health officials were working with Agriculture Victoria to determine who should be vaccinated first, including pig farm workers. “There is a vaccine available,” he told reporters on Wednesday, “and we’re working with local public health units to prioritise its implementation.”

“We’re concerned since this virus has never been seen in Victoria.” To promote the provision of vaccination doses to at-risk demographic groups, the federal government is acting extensively with all states and territories. People who deal with pigs, such as transport workers, veterinarians, and those who cull or shoot pigs, should get vaccinated. Following torrential rain and disastrous floods in NSW and Queensland, Mr Foley claimed the virus was spreading due to climate change. He explained, “Clearly, with so much climate change-induced weather pattern change, we’re now seeing it migrate across all of the states.”

While only approximately 1% of cases show symptoms and only a small percentage of them show severe symptoms that necessitate hospitalisation, it is nevertheless a horrible disease. The disease had spread to 20 piggeries across the country, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told ABC News on Wednesday. JEV is transferred to humans by mosquito bites and cannot be passed from person to person or through the consumption of pig products. The most vulnerable to serious sickness are children under the age of five and the elderly. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms such as nausea, headaches, light sensitivity, or fever should seek medical help immediately.

All people, especially those who live in mosquito-infested areas, are recommended to use insect repellent and cover up exposed skin to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. JEV has been found in humans for more than two decades. In 1995, an outbreak occurred in Australia’s tropical north. The disease has been deemed a nationally serious communicable disease occurrence by Australia’s chief medical officer, prompting additional resources for states and territories.


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