NSW Health is urging the community to stay vigilant and take precautions against mosquito bites after an eighth NSW resident has been confirmed to have Japanese encephalitis (JE).
The confirmed case is a man aged in his 50s from the Temora area in the Riverina region. He was treated in hospital before being discharged and is continuing to recover in the community.
With the evolving nature of the JE situation across the country, NSW Health is transitioning the way it reports cases in NSW residents from today.
In line with national reporting structures, NSW Health will finalise any new cases and locations each day at 4pm, and report them the next day on the NSW Health website.
The JE virus is spread by mosquitoes and can infect animals and humans. The virus cannot be transmitted between humans, and it cannot be caught by eating pork or other pig products.
There is no specific treatment for JE, which can cause severe neurological illness with headache, convulsions and reduced consciousness in some cases.
The best thing people throughout the state can do to protect themselves and their families against JE is to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
Simple actions you can take include:
- Avoid going outdoors during peak mosquito times, especially at dawn and dusk, and close to wetland and bushland areas.
- Wear long sleeves and pants outdoors (reduce skin exposure). Also wear shoes and socks where possible. There are insecticides (e.g. permethrin) available for treating clothing for those spending extended periods outdoors.
- Apply repellent to all areas of exposed skin, especially those that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus which are the most effective against mosquitoes. The strength of a repellent determines the duration of protection with the higher concentrations providing longer periods of protection. Always check the label for reapplication times.
- Reapply repellent after swimming. The duration of protection from repellent is also reduced with perspiration, such as during strenuous activity or hot weather so it may need to be reapplied more frequently.
- Apply the sunscreen first and then apply the repellent. Be aware that DEET-containing repellents may decrease the sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreens so you may need to re-apply the sunscreen more frequently.
- For children in particular – most skin repellents are safe for use on children aged three months and older when used according to directions, although some formulations are only recommended for children aged 12 months and older – always check the product. Infants aged less than three months can be protected from mosquitoes by using an infant carrier draped with mosquito netting that is secured along the edges.
- If camping, ensure the tent has fly screens to prevent mosquitoes entering.
- Mosquito coils and other devices that release insecticides can assist reducing mosquito bites but should be used in combination with topical insect repellents.
- Reduce all water holding containers around the home where mosquitoes could breed. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of liquid to breed.
For further information on mosquito-borne disease and ways to protect yourself go to Japanese encephalitis.