Months of rain and flooding across large parts of New South Wales have created ideal conditions for a statewide outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders said mosquito numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.
“As we recover from heavy rainfall and head into warmer temperatures, conditions are ideal for Japanese encephalitis to spread,” he said Wednesday.
Livestock owners are urged to monitor their animals for signs of the virus, with routine surveillance indicating it remains present in parts of the NSW region.
Japanese encephalitis is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes and is more common in rural and agricultural areas.
Signs of infection include high temperature, jaundice, lethargy, anorexia, and neurological signs including lack of coordination and impaired vision.
It does not pose a food safety risk, but the virus can cause reproductive harm in pigs.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Japanese encephalitis can also affect people, and he is urging people who live or work in areas identified as having the virus to get vaccinated.
“Take extra steps and wear light, long-sleeved clothing, apply repellent to exposed skin, improve drainage where possible to minimize standing water, and cover windows and doors with screens,” he said. declared.
The vaccine is recommended for people aged two months or over who regularly live or work in 41 local government areas with an identified risk of the virus in southern and western New South Wales.
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