Japanese encephalitis detected at Murray Bridge and Coorong piggeries
SA Health is warning everyone to take care not to be bitten by mosquitoes after the emergence of a rare virus in the Murraylands.
Murraylands residents are being urged to take extra care not to be bitten by mosquitoes after a further detections of a rare virus in the region.
The Japanese encephalitis virus has been detected at two piggeries in the Murray Bridge and Coorong districts during the past week, according to Primary Industries and Regions SA.
Humans can catch the virus if bitten by a mosquito which has previously bitten an infected pig, horse or waterbird.
Ninety-nine per cent of people exposed to the virus will develop mild or no symptoms, but in rare cases it can cause swelling of the brain, which can be fatal.
Early symptoms may include tiredness, fever or headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea; and confusion, sleepiness, seizures, weakness or unusual behaviour or movements may follow.
The risk is highest for children under the age of five.
One person has died since the virus was first detected in South Australia a month ago, and seven others have been hospitalised.
A vaccine is available, but SA Health spokesman Chris Lease said basic protective measures remained the first line of defence for most people:
Apply an insect repellant containing DEET or picaridin, or use a mosquito coil
Cover up with long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
Close doors and windows which mosquitoes could fly through
Clear up stagnant water around the garden to keep mosquitoes from breeding
People planning activities along the River Murray should be especially vigilant, he said, particularly between dusk and dawn and on warm nights.
More information: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/fightthebite.
It’s still safe to eat pork, industry spokesman says
Chief veterinary officer Mary Carr encouraged pig and horse owners to take steps to reduce mosquito activity on their properties by eliminating breeding areas and using chemicals where appropriate.
Pork SA chair Andrew Johnson welcomed the government’s response to the threat, which has included PIRSA staff testing animals and providing advice to producers.
He encouraged consumers to get behind local farmers at a concerning time.
“There are no food safety issues associated with eating pork meat or pork products due to this disease,” he said.
“Shoppers are encouraged to support local farmers by continuing to buy Australian pork.”
More information: www.pir.sa.gov.au/je-virus.
Report illness or death in pigs or horses: Call 1800 675 888.
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