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In early 2022, cases of severe encephalitis appeared in eastern Australia, concomitant with reports of congenital abnormalities in piglets. These were later confirmed to be due to Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). Testing of sentinel mosquitoes and chickens showed evidence of JEV. Diagnostic testing for JEV is complex: virus in blood and cerebrospinal fluid is short-lived, and serological diagnosis is affected by cross-reactions between arboviruses. JEV genotype 4 was detected by whole genome sequencing and metagenomics. JEV activity has settled with winter but the big question is whether it will become endemic. Climate change is likely to influence the emergence of viruses in Australia.
Professor Dominic Dwyer
Dominic Dwyer is a virologist and infectious diseases physician at Westmead Hospital and Sydney University. He undertook a MD at UNSW and postgraduate research in HIV/AIDS at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. He has a clinical and research interest in viral diseases of public health importance, including COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses, arboviruses, HIV, and antiviral drug resistance. He is actively involved in investigations of outbreaks of viral infections, including at mass gatherings and closed environments.
Opinions expressed in the Kirby Institute Seminar Series are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Kirby Institute or UNSW.