Public Health Alert: protect against mosquito bites

The ACT Health Directorate is alerting the Canberra and surrounding community to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been detected in samples from pigs in commercial pig farms at locations in regional New South Wales, northern Victoria and southern Queensland indicating the virus is likely circulating in the mosquito population.

There are no commercial pig farms in the ACT and JEV has not been detected in the ACT at this time.

This virus is spread by mosquito bites and may affect animals, including pigs, and humans.

Less than 1 per cent of people infected with JEV experience symptoms - which typically appear between five and 15 days after a bite from an infected mosquito - and include fever, joint pain, and rash.

Rarely, JEV can cause Japanese encephalitis, a severe neurological illness with headache, convulsions, and reduced consciousness.

There is no specific treatment for Japanese encephalitis or other mosquito-borne viral  infections. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Simple actions to avoid mosquito bites include:

  • Cover up as much as possible with light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and covered footwear when outside.
  • Use an effective insect repellent on exposed skin and reapply within a few hours. The best mosquito repellents contain Diethyl Toluamide (DEET), Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Use insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units (indoors) and mosquito coils (outdoors) to clear rooms or repel mosquitoes from an area.
  • Cover all windows, doors, vents and other entrances with insect screens.
  • Remove any water-holding containers outside the house where mosquitoes could breed.

For more information on vector borne diseases visit

Update 23 March 2022: 

For the latest information about JEV, please refer to the ACT Health Japanese Encephalitis Virus page.

Page last updated on: 23 Mar 2022