Japanese encephalitis information for veterinarians

Veterinary alert

Clinical signs of Japanese encephalitis (JE) in horses can be similar to Hendra virus. Veterinarians must take stringent precautions to manage the level of risk when investigating potential Hendra virus cases, including:

  • safe work practices and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to manage potential exposure
  • limiting veterinary procedures to obtaining samples for Hendra virus, providing immediate treatment and attending to the horse's welfare
  • excluding Hendra virus through laboratory testing prior to undertaking invasive procedures or sampling (e.g. post mortem).

Read the Hendra virus information for veterinarians for more information on precautions to take when Hendra virus is suspected.

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

It is unknown if JE will continue to be detected in pigs in Queensland in future years and should be considered a potential risk when mosquitoes are present.

Veterinarians play an important role in the surveillance of zoonotic emergency animal disease such as JE.

JE is a nationally notifiable disease. Under Queensland legislation, if you suspect Japanese encephalitis in any animal, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or phone the all-hours Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 888).