Mosquito-borne disease risk will be ‘10 times higher’ this summer
Health authorities are urging people in River Murray communities to get vaccinated against the Japanese encephalitis virus.
Murraylands residents should consider getting vaccinated against a concerning virus, SA Health says.
With a wet summer forecast, the risk of mosquite-borne disease is likely to be 10 times higher than usual, according to chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier.
More stagnant water will mean more mosquitoes, which will mean more cases of Ross River virus, Murray Valley encephalitis and - most concerningly - Japanese encephalitis.
The disease, newly introduced to South Australia, usually produces no symptoms.
However, in a small proportion of cases, it may cause confusion, headaches, tension, drowsiness, neck stiffness and seizures.
Two out nine cases reported in SA since last summer proved fatal.
Vaccinations are freely available to residents of River Murray communities who would usually spend more than four hours per day outside.
More than 2000 doses have already been administered in SA.
“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,” Professor Spurrier said.
“All South Australians are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant in protecting against mosquito bites.”
She encouraged every South Australian to minimise their exposure to mosquitoes by:
Covering up with light-coloured, long, loose-fitting clothing
Using insect repellent
Eliminating water mosquitoes might breed in, and
Fitting doors and windows with mosquito screens
The virus can also infect pigs and horses.
More information: Visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/jevvaccine or www.pir.sa.gov.au/jev-virus.
Report a case in animals: 1800 675 888.
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