Deadly Mosquito-Borne Virus Detected In The Kimberley

The MVE virus alert

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The Department of Health has urged Western Australian residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, following the first Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) detection in East Kimberley. 

The MEV virus was found in sentinel chicken flocks, which were used to monitor and provide an early warning system for mosquito-borne virus activity.   

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Dr Andrew Jardine, WA Health’s Managing Scientist in Biological Hazards, said the MVE virus was only transmitted by mosquitoes.   

He has urged the public to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, as it is the only adequate protection against the MVE virus. 

“While the risk of being infected and becoming unwell is low, the illness caused by the virus can be severe and even fatal,” Dr Jardine said. 

The MVE virus has been active in the Kimberley region in the past few years due to the wet season rainfall.  

However, authorities said they had detected significant MVE activities in other Australian states and territories this year. 

Despite zero human cases of MVE reported in WA in 2023, Dr Jardine asked the public to look out for the initial symptoms, including fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness.  

“People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible,” Dr Jardine said. 

“In severe cases, people may experience seizures, lapse into a coma, be left with permanent brain damage or die.” 

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Caitlin Duan

22 February 2023

Article by:

Caitlin Duan

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