In a follow-up on Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus infection in Victoria, Australia, two additional cases of MVE virus infection, including one death, have been confirmed in Victoria, health officials report.
This brings the total number of Victorian cases to three and the number of deaths from the virus to two this mosquito season.
All cases spent time in northern Victoria during their acquisition periods.
The second case of MVE is a woman in her sixties who died in late February and was most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes in the Greater Bendigo Local Government Area (LGA), but also spent time in Swan Hill LGA during the acquisition period.
The third case is a man in his seventies who was potentially exposed to infected mosquitoes in Campaspe Shire LGA. The man has been admitted to hospital, where he continues to receive treatment. Local councils are undertaking mosquito control activities in affected areas.
The Department of Health is investigating a number of other suspected cases of MVE/JE. The last outbreak of MVE in Victoria was in 1974.
The risk of mosquito-borne diseases is high due to recent weather conditions and elevated mosquito numbers across Victoria. Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as JE, MVE, and West Nile/Kunjin virus infection. MVE virus and West Nile (Kunjin) virus continue to be detected in mosquitoes trapped in parts of northern Victoria, and it is likely that JE virus is also circulating in mosquito populations. The risk of further human cases in the coming weeks remains very high.
MVE is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. There is no vaccine for MVE, the best prevention is to protect yourself against mosquito bites.
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