Flooding leads to surge in encephalitis virus
The mosquito-borne disease, which is endemic to the nation’s tropical north, re-emerged in south-eastern Australia during 2011.
There were 16 confirmed MVEV cases last year, resulting in three deaths and an additional suspected – but not confirmed – case in Victoria involving a 69-year-old man who also died.
This compared to zero MVEV notifications in 2010; in the period 2001 to 2009 there were 18 confirmed cases.
“MVEV is thought to be maintained in enzootic foci in the north of WA and the Top End of the NT in a cycle involving waterbirds and mosquitoes,” wrote Dr Jack Richards, of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at Royal Melbourne Hospital, and co-authors.
“Activity outside the enzootic areas is believed to follow the migration of infected waterbirds into flood-affected areas.
“…The recent activity of MVEV across Australia decreased with the