With floodwaters and long periods of wet weather comes mosquitos and there's plenty of them around in Grenfell right now.
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Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) has issued a warning, urging communities to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
WNSWLHD Director of Public Health Priscilla Stanley said Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus was detected in NSW for the first time last mosquito season.
"A total of 13 confirmed cases (people with severe illness) were notified in NSW last season, including from areas in Western NSW," she said.
"In addition, JE was detected in samples from commercial pig farms in Western NSW indicating the virus is likely circulating in the mosquito population."
WNSWLHD now recommends the JE vaccine for people aged two months or older who live or routinely work in 41 local government areas, including Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Coonamble, Dubbo Regional, Forbes, Gilgandra, Lachlan, Narromine, Parkes, Walgett, Warren, Warrumbungle and Weddin shires.
WNSWLHD has identified the risk of JE in people who:
"JE is a mosquito borne disease that may affect animals, including pigs, and humans. The virus is spread by mosquito bites," Ms Stanley said.
"It is really important to protect yourself from mosquito bites as mosquitoes can spread viruses including Japanese encephalitis."
According to WNSWLHD, less than one per cent of people infected with JE experience symptoms, which typically include fever, joint pain, and rash. Occasionally, JE can cause severe a neurological illness with headache, seizures, and neck stiffness.
"There is no specific treatment for JE or other mosquito-borne viruses. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes," Ms Stanley said.
"Unfortunately our recent wet weather has led to very high mosquito numbers, so we need the community to be particularly vigilant and take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
"We know mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn, and we need people planning activities near waterways or where mosquitoes are present to be especially cautious, particularly those in the vicinity of the Murray River and its branches."
WNSWLHD has provided some tips to help protect yourself and your family against mosquitos by:
For further information on JE vaccination go to: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/JEvaccine.
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