SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Queensland on alert as Japanese mosquito virus detected after floods

UPDATE: A person from the NSW-Victoria border region is in intensive care with Japanese encephalitis virus.

NSW Health confirmed on the case on Friday night, marking the state's first case after outbreaks in Queensland and Victoria.

Several more patients in NSW were undergoing testing for the mosquito-borne illness and more cases were expected to be confirmed in the state over coming weeks.

Earlier, Queensland's health minister outlined a confronting list of symptoms as her state issued a public health alert during the arduous flood clean-up for the southeast.

Yvette D'Ath delivered a public warning after the first confirmed human case of Japanese encephalitis virus in the state, a person who is currently being treated in Brisbane hospital.

Japanese encephalitis virus spreads through mosquito bites and people in regional areas who are in contact with pigs may be at particular risk.

"There are now nine piggeries with the confirmed infections of Japanese encephalitis in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria," Ms D'Ath told reporters on Friday afternoon.

Queensland health minister Yvette D'Ath explains how a mosquito-borne virus can manifest.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath described how the mosquito-borne virus can manifest on Friday. Source: Queensland Health

16 cases of encephalitis across Australia

On Thursday night, Queensland Health confirmed a person infected with JEV was being treated in a Brisbane hospital after travelling to the state's south.

Victorian authorities have confirmed eight suspected cases of JEV in the state, connected to a piggery near Echuca in the state's north.

Two children aged under 10 and six adults are among the infected people, six of whom have been taken to hospital. One is also a NSW resident.

Overall, there are 16 cases of encephalitis "of unknown cause" under investigation across NSW, Victoria and South Australia, a federal Department of Health spokesperson revealed.

Federal, state and territory authorities are meeting regularly to discuss next steps as the disease continues to spread.

"Clinicians and hospitals have been asked to be alert to the possibility of the Japanese encephalitis virus in people presenting with a capsulitis or a similar illness," Ms D'Ath said.

In the aftermath of the flooding disaster across Queensland and NSW, Ms D'Ath urged people to take precautions against mosquitoes and to look out for any symptoms.

Most human infections of the virus cause no symptoms or mild symptoms, such as a headache or fever. However some cases can be severe.

"A person with severe disease may present with inflammation of the brain, characterised by the sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and chills, severe headaches, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and nausea," Ms D'Ath continued.

Two vaccinations are available for protection against the virus in Australia, with older people and those aged under five at a higher risk of developing a serious illness.

The virus can not spread from person to person.

Flooding crisis could lead to more disease carrying mosquitoes

Ms D'Ath warned warned excess water from the flooding crisis across Queensland and NSW could likely lead to an increase in mosquito populations and worsen the spread of the virus.

"[Please] take necessary steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, especially given the recent flooding which may lead to an increase of mosquito numbers in coming weeks," she said.

"Especially with these flood events, there will be a lot of static water sitting around homes and we ask that as you do the cleanup you remove that water to reduce the risk of mosquitoes."

It's expected lingering flood waters will boost mosquito populations. Source: AAP
It's expected lingering floodwaters will boost mosquito populations. Source: AAP

Authorities are urging people to regularly apply insect repellent, wear loose, light-coloured clothing to cover their legs, arms and feet, and use other insecticide-based mosquito control devices where possible when outside.

Some species are also more active at dusk and dawn, so residents are urged to check common mosquito breeding sites, clean up at daybreak and remove water where possible.

Earlier this week, health warnings were issued in several states after the disease was found in one piggery in Victoria's north, six piggeries in NSW and one in Queensland.

with AAP

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.