Murray Valley Virus in Australia

Western AustraliaAs usual, Pro-Med mail has some of the best updates on disease spread.  The northern part of Western Australia has been subject of a warning from the Department of Health on increased transmission risk of the mosquito borne virus known as Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus.  Transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, the virus is known to damage the brain, spinal cord and meninges (encephalitis).

Heavy rains in the areas of Kimberly and Pilbara have contributed to an increase in mosquitoes and widespread biting.  The University of Western Australia Dept. of Epidemiology has also reported cases of Ross River and Bramah Forest virus in the area, as well.  There are no recommendations for travelers to avoid the area but mosquito bite preventionis highly suggested.  Warnings are specific for travelers and new comers to the area, who are most likely to be effected.  Children are also considered at high risk.  Those camping or sleeping near rivers or swamps in the area should have adequate preparation for mosquito bite prevention. 

Symptoms of the viruses include fever, headache, malaise/fatigue, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness.  If left untreated, the person may loose consciousness and suffer from seizures.  Death or permanent brain damage are possible.

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