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Health alert – More Murray Valley encephalitis virus detections in Victoria 21 January 2023

More Murray Valley encephalitis virus detections in Victoria and a high number of detections in Mildura

Date issued: 21 January 2023 (update to alert issued 13 January 2023)

Issued by: Dr Clare Looker, Acting Chief Health Officer

Issued to: Health professionals and the Victorian community


Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus and West Nile/Kunjin virus have been detected in mosquitoes trapped at multiple locations across northern Victoria. A high number of detections have been reported from the Mildura area. These results mean that the MVE virus is increasing in the mosquito population and indicate a significant risk to people in these areas, particularly Mildura. The risk of human cases in the coming weeks is very high.

Public health advice for Mildura

Residents and people visiting Mildura are strongly advised to take measures to reduce their risk of mosquito bites:

  • Residents, visitors and event patrons should wear an appropriate repellent at all times when outdoors.
  • Cover up – wear long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.
  • Avoid time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn as much as possible.
  • Event organisers must consider their obligations to keep event patrons safe. This requires informing patrons of the risk of mosquito exposure and the necessary protective measures, including appropriate clothing and the use of repellent. Organisers may wish to postpone outdoor events or relocate them indoors during this high-risk period, particularly for events scheduled around dawn and dusk.

Mildura council will be undertaking extensive mosquito control activities over the coming days.

The Department of Health will provide updated public health advice next week.

Key messages

  • Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus has been detected in mosquitoes in northern Victoria this mosquito season.
  • MVE virus can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the central nervous system and is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches, although most infected people do not have symptoms. In serious cases, people can develop meningitis or encephalitis.
  • Anyone with symptoms should seek urgent medical care.
  • Clinicians should test for the MVE virus and Japanese encephalitis virus in patients with a compatible illness.
  • Clinicians should notify the Department of Health immediately of suspected cases by calling 1300 651 160.
  • The risk of MVE virus infection and other mosquito-borne diseases is high this mosquito season. The best prevention is to protect against mosquito bites.

Read the full alert: More Murray Valley encephalitis virus detections in Victoria and a high number of detections in Mildura

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