An urgent public health alert has been issued after the first confirmed human case of a rare mosquito-borne virus was detected in Queensland.
Queensland Health issued the alert overnight, warning a case of Japanese Encephalitis Virus had been detected.
“The confirmed case had recent travel in regional southern Queensland and is currently being treated in a Brisbane hospital,” Qld Health said.
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“Clinicians at Queensland hospitals have been asked to be alert to the possibility of JEV in people presenting with encephalitis or a similar illness”.
It’s understood the human case follows a detection at a piggery in southern Queensland last week.
There have also been detections in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Queensland Health has confirmed there is no risk to humans from consuming pork or pig products and the virus cannot be spread directly from person to person.
The virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito to people and animals.
Most human infections cause no symptoms or mild symptoms such as headache or fever.
However, authorities said a person with severe disease may present with inflammation of the brain, characterised by sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and chills, severe headache, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and nausea/vomiting.
Children aged under five and older people are at a higher risk of developing more severe illness.
“We encourage Queenslanders to take necessary steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, especially given the recent flooding event which may lead to an increase in mosquito numbers in coming weeks,” Queensland Health warned.
“Queensland Health is working collaboratively with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and industry, as well as state, territory and national counterparts to discuss a national response.
“Support is also being provided to intensive livestock industry workers.”