26 September 2023

SA Health points finger at dangerous mosquitos

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SA Health has issued a warning for people working or living in the Murray River, Lakes, and the Coorong communities to protect themselves from mosquitoes carrying viruses such as Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV).

According to SA Health the risk of mosquito-borne disease transmission is at its highest level at the moment in more than 10 years.

It said that wet weather conditions had resulted in more mosquito breeding which threatened to increase the risk of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier encouraged all South Australians to remain vigilant protecting against mosquito bites and to remember that vaccination against JEV did not protect against other mosquito borne diseases.

“As South Australia enters its third consecutive La Nina weather season, we know this means there is likely to be more summer rainfall,” Professor Spurrier said.

“This, coupled with flooding associated with increased water levels in the River Murray, will create greater mosquito breeding habitat and conditions that support the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases,” she said.

“With greater access to the JEV vaccine now available, anyone eligible in these areas should come forward and receive a vaccine against JEV to protect themselves against this potentially devastating disease.”

SA Health said the JEV vaccine was free for those aged two months and older, who had a primary residence or work in one of the eligible postcodes.

It said that since December 2021 two people had died and seven had been hospitalised due to JEV in South Australia.

“While most people infected with JEV will not experience symptoms, a small proportion will develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can be fatal or cause long-term neurological damage,” SA health said.

More information about the JEV vaccine and eligibility for the free JEV vaccine can be accessed at this PS News link.

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