SYDNEY, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) urged local residents to be cautious with mosquito bites on Wednesday as Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus was detected in inner west of the state.
Richard Broome, executive director of Health Protection NSW, said most people who are infected with the virus that causes MVE do not have any symptoms, but a small proportion of people infected will experience symptoms, including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and muscle aches.
"Among those who get a severe infection, some may die or have lifelong neurological complications," Broome said.
According to NSW Health, the MVE virus, a nationally notifiable disease in Australia, is spread by mosquitos from infected animals to humans. The virus can not be transmitted between humans, and people can not get the virus by touching an infected animal or eating animal products.
"There is no vaccination or specific treatment for MVE and the best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which are most active between dusk and dawn," Broome said.
"Avoiding mosquito bites will also protect against other mosquito-borne infections including Japanese encephalitis, Ross River Fever and Barmah Forest virus."
The health authorities also recommended some tips to prevent mosquito bites such as wearing light, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts, long pants and covered footwear and socks, especially around dusk and dawn; removing items that might collect water outside houses and improving the properties' drainage so as not to create environment for mosquitoes breeding.
According to the health department of the Victoria state, MVE virus is endemic in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea, where sporadic cases or small outbreaks of MVE occur every few years, usually at the end of the wet season.
Seven outbreaks of MVE have occurred at irregular intervals in southeastern Australia since 1917. ■