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 that a case of Japanese encephalitis virus had been detected.
“The confirmed case recently traveled to regional southern Queensland and is currently being treated at a hospital in Brisbane,” Qld Health said.
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“Clinicians in Queensland hospitals have been urged to be alert to the possibility of JEV in people with encephalitis or similar illness.”
It is understood the human case follows a detection in a piggery in southern Queensland last week.
There have also been detections in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Queensland Health has confirmed that there is no risk to humans from consuming pork or pork products and that the virus cannot spread directly from person to person.
The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito to humans and animals.
Most human infections cause no symptoms or mild symptoms such as headache or fever.
However, authorities have said that someone with severe illness may experience inflammation of the brain, characterized by the sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and chills, severe headache, sensitivity to light , stiff neck and nausea/vomiting.
Children under five and older people are at higher risk of developing more serious disease.
“We encourage Queenslanders to take the necessary steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially given recent flooding which could lead to increased mosquito numbers in the coming weeks,” Queensland Health warned.
“Queensland Health is working 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 workers in the intensive livestock industry.”