Japanese Encephalitis in Australia

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions
japanese encephalitis australia map
States in Australia that have reported Japanese encephalitis cases and location of the Murray River where the outbreak primarily has been focused (see larger map)
What is Japanese Encephalitis?

Japanese Encephalitis virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people who are infected experience mild or no symptoms, but some people can develop severe disease. Early symptoms can include fever, headache, and vomiting. These symptoms may be followed by disorientation, coma, and seizures, and death can occur.

There are no medicines to treat or cure Japanese encephalitis.

Key points

  • There is an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in parts of eastern and southeastern Australia. Cases have been reported in rural areas of New South Wales, southern Queensland, southeastern South Australia, and northern Victoria.
  • The outbreak has been focused near the Murray River and in surrounding areas, particularly near the border of Victoria and New South Wales. A majority of cases have been reported from areas near pig farms.
  • Most travelers to Australia are at very low risk for Japanese encephalitis.
  • Travelers to Australia can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.
  • For the current outbreak, vaccination is recommended for people traveling to risk areas who will work or reside near pig operations (e.g., pig farms, slaughter facilities) or work directly with mosquitoes (e.g., entomologists, environmental health officers).
  • Vaccination for travel is also routinely recommended for longer-term (e.g., one month or more) travelers to Australia's Outer Torres Strait Islands.
  • Travelers should seek medical care immediately if they develop a fever, headache, vomiting, disorientation, coma, or seizures.

Traveler Information

Clinician Information