Good News Stories

REDI.E continues to be the best point of contact for community information in Wilcannia

31 March, 2022

Recent cases of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) have prompted fresh warnings about mosquito borne diseases in all of our river communities - especially after higher than normal rainfall. 

What is Japanese Encephalitis 

JE is a rare but serious disease that is spread to humans by mosquitoes that have contracted the virus from infected animals, most commonly pigs and horses. 

It is important that community members, especially those living in river towns, protect themselves from mosquito bites. 

While less than 1% of people infected with JE experience symptoms (fever, joint pain, rash), in rare, severe cases, it can result in encephalitis - inflammation of the brain - which is potentially fatal.  

Once contracted, there is no specific treatment for JE, the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos. 


How can we avoid contracting JE 

In response to this, REDI.E, in conjunction with AEHU, distributed two bottles of insect repellent as well as mosquito fact sheets to 82 Aboriginal community owned homes in Wilcannia earlier this month. 

In doing so, we recommend all community members stay aware of the risks of mosquito bites at this time. We encourage all household members to use the repellent and to also consider wearing long, light coloured and loose fitting clothing as well as covered footwear when outside.

We understand that while staying indoors at dawn and dusk is another good solution, not all homes in the area are effectively screened to control pests, including mosquitoes. According to AEHUs 2017 Housing for Health Data, 97% of houses in Wilcannia have one or more outside openings that are not effectively screened. And of the 97%, 38% had half or more of the outside openings unscreened.  

In light of these findings, we strongly encourage members of the community to consider screening their doors and windows to try and keep mosquitoes out. If this is not possible, please try and keep outside openings closed during dawn and dusk. 


Need help?

We understand that this may be a worrying time for many but we would like to reiterate that JE very rarely causes significant issues in humans. And while predominantly affecting pigs, pork meat is still ok to eat and the disease cannot be contracted by eating it. 

Regularly applying mosquito repellent and avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to combat this disease. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the information presented here, please do not hesitate to contact us

If you experience any disorientation, fever or a severe headache, contact your local health provider immediately.


This initiative is funded/supported by the Australian Government.

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