Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) resources
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Japanese encephalitis virus (JE) has been confirmed in pigs in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. It has also been confirmed in humans in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.
JE is a mosquito borne disease. It is possible for infected mosquitoes to spread the virus to people and some animals including pigs, horses and water birds.
Japanese encephalitis virus is a nationally notifiable disease. This means if you suspect an animal is showing signs of the disease, you must report it.
You can do this by contacting your local herd or government veterinarian or by calling the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
There is work underway for a targeted vaccine program for piggery staff. The Australian government is working closely with states and territories to support the distribution of vaccines to at-risk population groups.
To protect yourself and your staff, mosquito control measures need to be implemented in piggeries:
For further information on the JE vaccination program, including eligibility; please contact your state or territory’s Department of Health.
The best way to prevent JEV infection in your herd is to reduce the number of mosquitos. Mosquitos breed very quickly in the current conditions. As far as possible, undertake the following actions:
If your herd becomes infected, the impact on pig production is manageable and is likely to be short-term if appropriate vector control takes place.
Key messages are:
Federal and jurisdictional health agencies are monitoring the situation closely. For information relevant to your own jurisdiction, visit your state government agency via the links below:
Signs of JEV infection in pigs can include:
Reproductive failure and abortion in breeding gilts and sows
Deformed foetuses and increased still births
Piglets being born weak, disorientated, shaky or wobbly
Delayed farrowings beyond expected due date
Most infected pigs will not show any of these signs and will behave normally while carrying the virus. If you do have some animals behaving abnormally or have noticed large numbers of mosquitos in your herd, be alert.
JEV is a nationally notifiable disease, if you suspect JEV is present in your piggery you must notify government within 24 hours.
To notify government, please contact either:
There is no evidence that there will be any risk to subsequent reproduction when re-mating sows previously infected.
Immunity to JEV in infected farms is likely to be established quickly with no long-term effects on productivity. Once the pigs become infected, they are viremic for 4-8 days and then reach immunity after that.
It is anticipated immunity is likely to be quick especially in herds with naturally ventilated open-air sheds.