Japanese encephalitis current situation

5 July 2022

As of 5 July 2022, Agriculture Victoria had completed its review of all infected and suspected properties and has lifted movement restrictions that were in place.

Agriculture Victoria will continue to work with Department of Health on surveillance and disease modelling to improve our understanding of Japanese encephalitis in Victoria.

Call to action:

  • Be vigilant for signs of mosquito activity and Japanese encephalitis.
  • Continue to use effective biosecurity measures including mosquito control to limit the spread of Japanese encephalitis and to protect people and your livestock.
  • Pig owners must update their Property Identify Codes (PICs) when required.
  • If you suspect Japanese encephalitis on your property, call the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, or contact your local vet.

For advice on health and vaccinations, visit the Victorian Department of Health website and the Beat the Bite - Better Health Channel.

Background

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a viral disease that animals and people can contract through the bite of infected mosquitos. It can cause encephalitis in humans and reproductive failure, fever and encephalitis in animals, primarily pigs. Encephalitis is a central nervous system disease which can be life threatening. Consequently, it is a notifiable disease in humans and animals in all states and territories. Infection is not spread directly from pigs to people. There is no risk to humans from eating pig meat.

In February 2022 Japanese encephalitis was detected in piggeries across Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and South Australia. This initiated a national emergency response that involved both animal and public health government agencies. Agriculture Victoria delivered surveillance and mitigation activities under the national response plan in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Health.

There were 23 infected pig properties confirmed in Victoria in the following Victorian local government areas: Gannawarra, Campaspe, Moira, Loddon, Wangaratta, Greater Shepparton, Greater Bendigo and Northern Grampians. Nationally agreed movement restrictions were applied to infected pig properties to reduce the spread of the disease.

What to do if I suspect Japanese encephalitis in my animals?

Japanese encephalitis is a notifiable exotic disease in Victoria. If you suspect Japanese encephalitis in any animal, but especially in pigs or horses showing any clinical signs, immediately contact your local Agriculture Victoria staff or phone the all-hours Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

If you suspect you have Japanese encephalitis, contact your doctor and refer to the Victorian Department of Health website.

Page last updated: 20 Jul 2022