Japanese encephalitis has been diagnosed in an adult male in Queensland. The man who has recovered and been discharged from hospital is believed to have acquired the virus while working on a boat on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. Queensland Health, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the Department of Primary Industries are working to determine the source of virus and to contain its spread. This will include testing residents of two nearby Cape York communities for evidence of infection with the virus. Local pig populations will also be tested.
This is the first case of Japanese encephalitis to be diagnosed on the Australian mainland. In 1995 three cases, including two deaths, were reported in the outer Torres Strait islands. A further case was reported in the Torres Strait in 1998.
This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence, Volume 22 No 4, 16 April 1998.