Public health alert issued for mosquito-borne disease

February 15, 2023 9:18 am in by

NT Health have issued a public health alert after the death of a woman caused by a deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) is a rare, but potentially fatal disease that is carried and spread by mosquitoes.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is another serious mosquito-borne disease that is prevalent in the NT, with three cases of JE recorded since February 2021, including one death.

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The hotspots for mosquitoes potentially carrying these diseases include rural areas close to wetlands and waterways, with the mosquitoes being most active at night.

Severe symptoms from MVE include headache, high fever, drowsiness, tremors, and seizures – especially in young children.

In some cases, the disease can progress to delirium, coma, permanent brain damage or death.

NT health is urging locals to stay away from hotspots, and if you experience any of these symptoms to contact your GP immediately.

Director of Medical Entomology Nina Kurucz says prevention against mosquitoes is the best defense.

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“Using insect repellant, covering up, also using light coloured clothing as mosquitos are attracted to dark colours,” she says.

“Don’t put too much perfume or deodorant on because that also attracts mosquitoes.”

MVE can be fatal in 30 percent of cases, with 5 deaths recorded in the NT over the past 20 years.

The last case of MVE occurred in Katherine in 20-21.