NSW Health urges the community to remain vigilant and take precautions against mosquito bites after a sixth resident of NSW was confirmed to have Japanese encephalitis (JE).
A confirmed case is a 60-year-old man from the Balranald district in the Riverina region. He is being treated at a hospital in Victoria.
Several more people at NSW are now undergoing further screening at JE.
The JE virus is spread by mosquitoes and can infect animals and humans. The virus cannot be transmitted between people, it cannot be picked up when eating pork or other pig products.
There is no specific treatment for JA that can cause severe neurological disease with headaches, seizures, and decreased consciousness.
The best thing people across the state can do to protect themselves and their families from JE is to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
Simple actions you can take include:
- Avoid going outside during mosquito rush, especially at dawn and dusk, and near wetlands and bushes.
- Wear long sleeves and pants outdoors (reduce skin exposure). Also wear shoes and socks where possible. There are insecticides (such as permethrin) available to treat clothing for those who spend a long time outdoors.
- Apply repellents to all exposed areas of the skin, especially those containing DEET, picaridine or lemon eucalyptus oil, which are most effective against mosquitoes. The strength of the repellent determines the duration of protection, with higher concentrations providing a longer period of protection. Always check the label for re-use.
- After bathing re-apply the repellent. The duration of protection against repellents is also reduced with sweating, for example, during strenuous activities or hot weather, so you may need to apply it more often.
- First apply sunscreen and then apply repellent. Keep in mind that repellents containing DEET can lower the sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreens, so you may need to apply sunscreen more often.
- Especially for children – most skin repellents are safe for children three months and older when used as directed, although some formulations are only recommended for children 12 months and older – always test the product. Infants less than three months old can be protected from mosquitoes by using a pram covered with a mosquito net attached to the edges.
- When you go camping, make sure the tent has a fly net to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- Mosquito coils and other insecticide-releasing devices can help reduce mosquito bites, but they should be used in conjunction with topical insect repellents.
- Reduce all water storage tanks in the house where mosquitoes can breed. Only a small amount of fluid is required for mosquitoes to reproduce.
For more information on mosquito-borne diseases and methods of protection, go to: