Australian tourist dies after mosquito bite in Thailand

Japanese encephalitis is carried in mosquitoes and if it causes inflammation of the brain in a human it can be fatal in one in four cases (Stock Image)
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An Australian man has died after returning from holiday in Thailand from an increasingly rare virus that causes inflammation of the brain.

The 60-year-old Victorian man returned from a 10 day holiday in Phuket, Thailand, when he struggled to stay awake and was eventually admitted in hospital in a confused state.

The man was diagnosed with Japanese encephalitis, with less than one percent of cases triggering inflammation of the brain, that leads to a fatal infection in roughly one in four people, according to The Age.

Japanese encephalitis is carried through mosquitoes and is vaccine preventable, but there is no specific treatment. The rare virus is more common in certain areas of Asia and the South Pacific.

The symptoms of Japanese encephalitis include headaches, vomiting, a fever, convulsions and neurological signs, such as movement disorder, that appear five to 10 days following the infection.

Japanese encephalitis is becoming so ‘vanishingly rare’ this case is believed to be only the 10th case recorded in Australia.

‘We don’t have Japanese encephalitis within Australia itself, so it has to be acquired during travel to areas of risk,’ Royal Melbourne Hospital doctor Steven Tong told the ABC, according to the publication.

Japanese encephalitis is vaccine preventable and is more common in certain areas of Asia and the South pacific
Japanese encephalitis is vaccine preventable and is more common in certain areas of Asia and the South Pacific

‘Most figures suggest that for travellers to endemic areas such as Thailand, the risk is probably in the order of one in a million to one in 500,000 travellers to those areas will get Japanese encephalitis.

The rare virus can not be passed from person to person and for Japanese encephalitis to maintain it must stay in a cycle involving mosquitoes, a vertabrate host, pigs and birds.

Doctors are still determining how the 60-year-old man caught the rare virus. – Mailonline

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