Mosquito warning as virus spreads to the Pilbara region

Published on Thursday, 16 March 2023 at 11:41:18 AM

Murray Valley encephalitis has been detected in sentinel chicken flocks in the Pilbara including Tom Price and Paraburdoo.

There have not been any human cases of MVE so far, this wet season, however residents in all town are advised to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

While the risk of being infected and becoming unwell is low, the resulting illness can be severe. In the case of MVE, infection can be fatal.

Initial symptoms of MVE include fever, drowsiness, headache, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness. People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

In severe cases, people may experience seizures, lapse into a coma, be left with permanent brain damage or die. In young children, fever might be the only early sign of infection. Parents should see their doctor or local health service if concerned, particularly if their child experiences drowsiness, floppiness, irritability, poor feeding, or general distress.

The Department is carrying out enhanced mosquito-borne disease surveillance activities in the Kimberley and Pilbara to monitor any risk to public health.

For more information about mosquito prevention visit HealthyWA.

It is important that residents and travellers to the Pilbara and Kimberley regions take the following simple steps to avoid mosquito bites:

  • avoid outdoor exposure, particularly at dawn and early evening
  • wear protective (long, loose-fitting, light-coloured) clothing when outdoors
  • apply an effective personal repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) or picaridin evenly to all areas of exposed skin and always follow the label instructions
  • ensure infants and children are adequately protected against mosquito bites, preferably with suitable clothing, shoes/socks, bed nets or other forms of insect screening
  • remove water holding containers from around the home and garden to ensure mosquitoes do not breed in your own backyard
  • use mosquito coils and mosquito lanterns and apply barrier sprays containing bifenthrin in patio and outdoor areas around houses
  • ensure insect screens are installed and in good condition on houses and caravans
  • use mosquito nets and mosquito-proof tents if sleeping outside.


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