The Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) has been detected in some feral pigs in an area north of the Skardon River on western Cape York peninsula.
It is clear, therefore, that JEV has been transmitted at some time recently on Cape York Peninsula.
As such, it is possible that further cases of JEV may be identified in feral pigs across the region. It’s important to understand that JEV is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites only.
It cannot be transmitted from human-to-human or direct from pigs, or by consuming pork or pig products.
The vast majority of human infections of JEV cause no symptoms or mild symptoms such as headache or fever.
A person with severe disease may present with inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), characterised by sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and chills, severe headache, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and nausea/vomiting.
The best defence against mosquito bites is to avoid being bitten in the first place.
We therefore encourage Cape York residents to take necessary steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Measures to prevent mosquito bites include regularly applying insect repellent containing Diethyl Toluamide (DEET), Picaridin; wearing loose, light-coloured clothing to cover up arms, legs and feet; and using other insecticide-based mosquito control devices where possible when outside.
Mosquito bites can be experienced at any time of day, but some species are most active at dusk and dawn.
It’s also important to ensure flyscreens are in good order so mosquitoes can’t enter your home easily.
JEV is a nationally notifiable disease in both humans and animals.
Read more about Japanese Encephalitis on the Queensland government website.