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Murrey Valley Encephalitis (MVE)

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 12, 2012

People working at WA and NT mine sites across the top-end, including FIFO workers need to protect themselves against mosquito bites following ongoing detection of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) virus and the closely related Kunjin virus.

The WA Department of Health’s surveillance program had detected activity of the rare, but potentially fatal, MVE and Kunjin viruses in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields, Midwest and central Wheatbelt regions.

While the risk of infection and serious illness is low, the illnesses can be severe and people should take sensible precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquito's across the top-end.

Symptoms of MVE include fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness.

People working in the far-North who experience those symptoms should seek medical advice quickly.

In severe cases, people may experience fits, lapse into a coma, and may be left with permanent brain damage or die.

In addition, cases of Ross River and Barmah Forest virus diseases continue to be notified in people from across much of WA.

The illnesses caused by Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are similar, with symptoms including painful joints, aching muscles, lethargy, fever, headache and skin rashes, and symptoms may last from days to months.

There are no specific cures or vaccines for any of these mosquito-borne diseases.

Therefore it is vital that people take care to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

 

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