In South Australia, the Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Executive Director of Health Protection and Licensing Services, Dr Chris Lease, said there have now been eight confirmed cases of Japanese encephalitis (JEV) notified in SA, including one death.
“We can confirm that one of the additional cases includes the person who we previously reported had sadly passed away earlier this month,” Dr Lease said.
“Of our eight total JEV cases in SA, five remain in hospital and two have since been discharged. Two people in hospital with encephalitis remain under investigation.
“It is crucial that we all continue to take extra precautions against mosquitoes and continue to ‘fight the bite.”
Families with young children should be especially mindful of mosquito bites, as children under five-years-of-age have a higher risk of developing encephalitis if infected with JEV.
JEV is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Culex species mosquitoes, particularly Culex tritaeniorhynchus.
Most JEV infections are mild (fever and headache) or without apparent symptoms, but approximately 1 in 250 infections results in severe disease characterized by rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and death. The case-fatality rate can be as high as 30% among those with disease symptoms.
There is a protective vaccine against Japanese encephalitis virus.