Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been has been declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance. JEV is a rare but potentially serious infection of the brain caused by a virus spread to humans through mosquito bites.
JEV has been detected in our region and a number of high risk locations have been identified. Therefore, the Victorian Department of Health is working with local Primary Health Networks to recruit GP clinics to support the delivery of this vaccination program to priority cohorts. Clinicians must consider and test for JEV and other arboviruses in patients with unexplained encephalitis, after other common causes such as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) and enteroviruses have been excluded.
How to access Japanese encephalitis vaccines
A limited supply of Japanese encephalitis virus vaccine is available from the National Stockpile. This supply is to be prioritised for at-risk groups:
- people who work at, reside at, or have a planned non-deferable visit to a:
- piggery, including but not limited to farm workers and their families (including children aged two months and older) living at the piggery, transport workers, veterinarians and others involved in the care of pigs
- pork abattoir or pork rendering plant.
- personnel who work directly with mosquitoes through their surveillance (field or laboratory based) or control and management, and indirectly through management of vertebrate mosquito-borne disease surveillance systems (eg sentinel animals) such as:
- environmental health officers and workers (urban and remote)
- all diagnostic and research laboratory workers who may be exposed to the virus, such as persons working with JE virus cultures or mosquitoes with the potential to transmit JE virus; as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
General Practices in western Victoria that determine they have patients eligible for the vaccine, can contact WVPHN via JEV@westvicphn.com.au or the Victorian Department of Health Immunisation team directly via email@example.com. We may be able to assist in linking individuals with GPs that already have vaccine supply or practices can order the vaccine from the Department of Health via Onelink. Please note: When contacting WVPHN regarding vaccinations please ensure you are not providing a patient’s personal information.
Secretary Approvals for Nurse immunisers and Pharmacist immunisers have now been updated to enable these workforces to administer the JE vaccine to individuals who are recommended for vaccination. The Victorian Government Department of Health has developed online training to educate pharmacist immunisers and nurse immunisers about Japanese encephalitis immunisation before they can administer the vaccine in Victoria.
- Information on Japanese encephalitis for health professionals is also available from the Victorian Department of Health website. Please note: Links to the most up to date version of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus serology and vaccination provider fact sheet are at the bottom on that page
- Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) JE Serosurvey test request forms
- Or contact the Department of Health via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- HealthPathways – Mosquito-borne Diseases in Victoria
- State Department of Health – Japanese encephalitis virus in Victoria
- CDNA advice regarding vaccination against Japanese encephalitis virus
- Federal Department of Health – Japanese encephalitis virus