Reappearance of human cases due to Murray Valley encephalitis virus and Kunjin virus in central Australia after an absence of 26 years.

Alex Brown, Srinivas Bolisetty, Peter Whelan, David Smith, Gavin Wheaton

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Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) and Kunjin virus disease are endemic in the tropical parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, but have been absent from Central Australia since 1974. In 2000, 5 laboratory-confirmed cases of encephalitis occurred over a short period in the normally dry inland region of Central Australia. The sudden occurrence of cases in March and April 2000 followed unusually high rainfall in the preceding months and evidence of flavivirus activity in the endemic areas in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Further cases were reported in the following wet season, without preceding human cases in known endemic areas. These findings indicate the reintroduction of these viruses into Central Australia and establishment of local cycles of infection with an ongoing risk to the local population. This area may also act as a potential source for reintroduction of MVE into south-eastern Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalCommunicable diseases intelligence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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