South Australians have been warned of an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases amid wet weather

In severe cases, dengue can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting, rashes, breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

 South Australians have been warned of an increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases amid wet weather.

South Australia (SA) Health on Friday announced the state’s vaccination program for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) would be expanded to prepare for a bumper mosquito season after higher-than-average Spring rainfall.

Under the expansion, thousands of residents of the River Murray area will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Spread to humans through mosquito bites, JEV can cause life-threatening brain swelling.

There have been nine confirmed virus cases in SA in 2022 and two deaths.

Chris Picton, the state’s Health Minister, said a third consecutive La Nina weather event had created “conditions which present an increased risk of mosquito-borne disease, including JEV, this year.”

“This is the first time we’ve seen locally acquired cases of JEV in South Australia, and we’re taking action to stop the virus spreading,” he told News Corp Australia.

“Wet weather and high humidity have created an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. We’ve also had a lot of backwaters around the River Murray already filled, further giving mosquitoes somewhere to breed.

Rolling these vaccines out quickly and expanding the surveillance programs will be vital in helping fight the bite, he said.

The federal government in March declared JEV a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance amid outbreaks in SA and the east coast.

As of Oct. 12, there had been 42 human cases of JEV notified in Australia and seven deaths since Jan. 1, 2021.

Paul De Barro, a research scientist from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), said in September that the heavy rainfall and high humidity that La Nina events bring would create ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes carrying JEV. ■

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