Japanese encephalitis information for pig owners

In early 2022, Japanese encephalitis was detected in piggeries in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Japanese encephalitis is category 1 restricted matter.

Under Queensland legislation, if you suspect the presence of this disease in any species of animal, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne viral disease. Waterbirds act as natural reservoirs for the virus, and mosquitoes can spread the virus to people, horses, pigs and other animals.

Most infections with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) in pigs are subclinical, meaning the animal is infected but shows no signs of disease. However, during the 2022 outbreak significant impacts were seen with reports of up to 20% of piglets stillborn or mummified.

While it is unknown if JEV will continue to be detected in pigs in Queensland in the future, it is a serious zoonotic disease.

Queensland pig owners and operators of piggeries are urged to take steps to protect their pigs against JEV and remain alert for any signs of JEV infection in their animals. Work with your veterinarian if your animals are showing clinical signs and if JEV is suspected, report this to Biosecurity Queensland.