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Mosquito-borne Kunjin Virus detected in Kimberley

Kimberley residents are being told to avoid mosquito bites as the Kunjin virus has been detected in the insects.

According to the WA Health Department above average rainfall and flooding from earlier in the year has resulted in an increase in mosquito-borne viruses.

Department of Health managing scientist, Dr Abbey Potter, said Kunjin virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

“Most people infected with Kunjin virus do not develop symptoms,” she said.

“In rare cases, the disease can lead to nausea, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, neck stiffness, confusion and seizures.

“People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical advice urgently.”

There is currently no specific treatment or vaccine for the Kunjin virus and the only effective way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes all together.

People in the Kimberley have been warned to avoid being outside in the early evening, to use mosquito repellent and check their insect screens at home to help protect themselves from contracting the virus.

It comes after a Japanese encephalitis outbreak —another mosquito-borne virus— in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia resulted in three deaths.

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