The Department of Health has confirmed one man has died from Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV).
The northern Victorian man was in his 60's and passed away on February 28.
An autopsy revealed he died from JEV with further investigations now underway into how he contracted the virus.
JEV is a mosquito-borne disease that first raised alarms in Victoria when cases emerged in Echuca.
The virus is predominantly found in pigs and horses, however as of March 8, there have been seven confirmed cases of Japanese Encephalitis in Victorian residents.
Most people who contract JEV will have none or very mild symptoms and fully recover, but anyone who develops a sudden onset of fever, headache, vomiting as well as seizures or disorientation should seek urgent medical attention.
A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is available and is recommended for people who work with or around pigs, including transport workers or vets who visit pig farms and those who cull or hunt pigs.
People with increased exposure to mosquitoes may be at a higher risk of infection, particularly those working or living on pig farms, or working or spending time outdoors.
The DHHS have urged caution to northern Victorians, particularly those more prove to severe illness such as older people and children under five.
How is JEV prevented?
People residing in or planning to visit the Murray River area should be aware of the risk of JEV and should take steps to significantly limit their exposure to mosquitoes. There are simple steps to protect themselves and their families against mosquito-borne diseases:
A vaccination program targeting those most at risk will commence shortly.
Clinicians should consider the possibility of JEV or other arboviruses in patients presenting with encephalitis or a compatible illness, in whom other causes of encephalitis, such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and enteroviruses, have been excluded, and particularly in those who have spent time within rural or regional Victoria, or have had extensive mosquito exposure or contact with pigs within the few weeks prior to symptom onset.
From Victoria's Department of Health.
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