The continuing wet season in Kimberley has spread the virus that causes Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE). The cyclone Glenda along with the more recent cyclone Hubert has extended mosquito breeding grounds.
The Department of Health has warned people living and traveling in the Kimberley or Pilbara to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
The potentially fatal Murray Valley encephalitis virus has been detected in the Pilbara region although there have been no confirmed cases of people contracting the disease. MVE is a rare yet potentially fatal virus.
With the heavy rainfall associated with tropical cyclone Glenda, further spread of the virus over coming weeks was expected. Early signs of MVE included fever, drowsiness, nausea, stiff neck, headache and dizziness. The Health Department has warned that people who experiencing such symptoms must seek urgent medical aid.
As the disease progresses fits, coma, and even permanent brain damage are possible eventualities.
Precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites included staying indoors at dusk and at night; use of insect screens, mosquito repellents and wearing protective clothing.