Mount Gravatt, Mount Gravatt East, Upper Mount Gravatt, and a number of other Brisbane suburbs have had a spraying blitz following news of South East Queensland’s first case of Japanese encephalitis in 24 years.
As the rains and the devasting flooding event have turned wet spaces into breeding grounds for mosquitoes, here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from JE exposure.
Symptoms of Japanese Encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis is a virus that causes a brain infection. It’s transmitted through an infected mosquito bite that may manifest symptoms within 5 to 15 days of the infection. The experts said that JE cannot be transmitted from person to person and it’s usually not transmitted by the most prevalent mosquito species in Queensland.
However, 99 per cent of JE virus infections will show no symptoms, per Queensland Health. Those who do could develop high fever and chills, severe headache, photophobia, neck stiffness, nausea, or vomiting, which could lead to convulsions or coma. A third of patients whose conditions become severe may develop permanent disabilities or succumb to the disease.
As the Council continues to monitor mosquito traps located across the city, residents may reduce their risks by doing the following below, per advice from the Australian Department of Health:
- applying and regularly reapplying an effective insect repellent on exposed skin
- wearing long, loose fitting clothing when outside
- ensuring accommodation, including tents, are properly fitted with mosquito nettings or screens
- using insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms and repel mosquitoes from an area
- covering all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens
- removing any water-holding containers where mosquitoes may breed
The best mosquito repellents to use must contain diethyltoluamide (DEET), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Subsequently, locals may be immunised against JE. Distribution and administration of the vaccines will be focused on at-risk groups, such as workers in piggeries, pork abattoirs, or pork-processing plants, laboratory workers who could be exposed to the virus, environmental health workers, and people who reside in locations with confirmed cases.
The vaccines are expected to be available from late March to April through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA).
Meanwhile, Council has sprayed target areas in these suburbs as of 8 March 2022:
Brisbane City Council
Holland Park West
Moreton Bay Council
Mt Gravatt East
Port of Brisbane
Seventeen Mile Rocks
Upper Mt Gravatt