Volume 67, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus causing severe encephalitis with a resultant high morbidity and mortality. In the period 1989-1993, we undertook a cross-sectional and longitudinal study by annually screening members of a small remote Aboriginal community in northwestern Australia for MVE virus antibodies. Of the estimated 250-300 people in the community, 249 were tested, and 52.6% had positive serology to MVE. The proportion testing positive increased with increasing age group, and males were slightly more likely to be positive than females. During the study period, a high proportion of the population seroconverted to MVE; the clinical/subclinical ratio seems to be lower than previously reported. Although MVE is mostly asymptomatic, the devastating consequences of clinical illness indicate that advice should be provided regarding the avoidance of mosquito bites. Our longitudinal study showed that the risk of seroconversion was similar for each age group, not just the young.


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