Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV)
We are monitoring the unfolding situation in Australia concerning the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). It has been declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance. We will update this alert with the latest medical advice and official reports.
For information about JEV and animals visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.
As at 26 September 2022:
There are 40 human cases of JEV in Australia
30 have been confirmed with definitive laboratory evidence:
- New South Wales (13)
- Northern Territory (1)
- Queensland (2)
- South Australia (5)
- Victoria (9)
10 are probable cases where the person has been linked epidemiologically and/or has symptoms of the disease and has laboratory suggestive evidence*:
- Queensland (3)
- South Australia (4)
- Victoria (3)
* laboratory suggestive evidence is strongly indicative of JEV but cannot entirely rule out other related flaviviruses like Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE).
Sadly, 6 people have been reported to have died as a result of JEV. Two in New South Wales, two in South Australia, one in Victoria and one in Queensland.
Why is there an alert
Declaration of a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance
On 4 March 2022, Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sonya Bennett, declared the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) situation a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance. She determined a national approach was required in relation to coordination of health policy, interventions and public messaging.
The declaration was made under the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance, in consultation with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
JEV is a nationally notifiable disease in both humans and animals.
What we are doing
A national working group of communicable disease, vaccine and arbovirus experts has been established.
The working group will support Australia’s response to the JEV situation. This will include:
- mosquito surveillance and control measures
- identification of those at direct risk, and for the rollout of vaccines.
Public health communications regarding mosquito protection will target affected communities.
The Australian Government’s health and agriculture departments are working very closely with their state government counterparts to ensure a swift and coordinated response.