Agriculture Victoria advise that Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) has been confirmed at a piggery in NSW indicating that the virus has started circulating again. Even though no instances of JEV have yet been detected in Victoria, the high levels of stagnant water from the recent flooding events have resulted in a large increase in mosquito numbers which will make people and horses vulnerable to JEV infection.
There is currently a free vaccine available for specific priority groups, so please check your eligibility for the vaccination here:
JEV is often asymptomatic in horses, but more severe cases can be fatal. Clinical signs to watch out for include:
- Jaundice (yellow colouring around the eyes, inside the mouth and other mucous membranes)
- Loss of appetite
- Neurological signs including incoordination, difficulty swallowing, impaired vision and, rarely, hyperexcitability.
Please contact your veterinarian immediately if horses in your care show any of these signs.
At this stage, an equine JEV vaccination is not available for horses in Australia, so care and attention must be taken to reduce horse exposure to mosquitoes wherever possible. Additional advice can be found here: