Date issued: 17 February 2023 (update to alert issued 3 February 2023)
Issued by: Associate Professor Deborah Friedman, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)
Issued to: Health professionals and Victorian community
- A case of Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus infection has been identified in a woman from Buloke Shire, who died in early February. This is the first case of MVE virus infection in Victoria since 1974.
- The risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as Japanese encephalitis (JE), MVE and West Nile (Kunjin) virus infections are high this summer, particularly in northern Victoria where viruses are being detected in mosquitoes.
- These viruses can cause a rare but potentially serious infection of the central nervous system and are spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.
- Taking measures to avoid mosquito bites is critical to protect against infections.
- 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 which can be fatal.
- Anyone with symptoms should seek urgent medical care.
- Clinicians should test for JE virus and MVE virus in patients with a compatible illness and notify the Department of Health of suspected cases immediately by calling 1300 651 160.
- Read the full alert: Update on Japanese encephalitis and Murray Valley encephalitis in Victoria.