What are the diseases spread by mosquitoes? Part 3: Murray Valley encephalitis

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading some of the most deadly diseases. In this series we take a look at some mosquito-borne diseases, how to spot the symptoms and what you should do if you're feeling sick following a mosquito bite. 

Murray Valley encephalitis is a serious illness you develop from a virus spread by being bitten by mosquitoes. Although serious in nature, Murray Valley encephalitis is quite a rare illness. Most cases occur in northern Australia or Papua New Guinea.

What are the symptoms of Murray Valley encephalitis?

Many people have will have no symptoms if they contract the virus. Others have mild symptoms including headache, fever, neck stiffness, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting. More severe symptoms may include drowsiness, confusion, neck stiffness, and possibly seizures. Infants may also become irritable or drowsy. Diagnosing the infection may involve a blood test and a lumbar puncture to test a sample of fluid from around the spinal cord.

Murray Valley encephalitis can be deadly but only in a very small percentage of people.

What are the treatments for Murray Valley encephalitis?

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Murray Valley encephalitis. Therefore, it's especially important to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

To lessen your chance of being bitten by mosquitoes, cover up as much skin as possible and stay inside in the early morning or at dusk. Screen living areas, and make sure you use an insect repellent when you are outside and there are mosquitoes around.

Part 1: Dengue fever

Part 2: Ross River virus

 Part 4: Barmah Forest virus

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