May 24, 2019

Canadian teen tourist dies from Aussie Mosquito bite

Most mosquito-borne diseases are not fatal, but MVE is the most deadly of them.

A 19-year-old Canadian tourist has died after contracting a rare mosquito-borne disease while on holiday in the Northern Territory, Australia.

The Northern Territory Department of Health issued a warning advising people cover up to avoid being bitten, after the Canadian woman became the third person in the Northern Territory to contract Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) this year.

The teenager became unwell when she arrived home from a holiday in Australia earlier this month and was admitted to hospital in Calgary, Alberta, where she died yesterday.

Acting director of the Centre for Disease Control Dr Peter Markey said it was not known exactly where in the Northern Territory the woman caught the disease.

Dr Markey said MVE was the most dangerous endemic mosquito-borne disease in the Northern Territory, for which there is no specific medical treatment.

Unlike other mosquito-borne illnesses, which are not typically fatal, such as Ross River fever, about 25 per cent of people who contract MVE die.

Many MVE patients will suffer from delirium and coma, leading to paralysis or brain damage.

People who have visited or live in or around wetlands or rivers are most likely to be at risk.

“Higher than average rainfall during the past wet season, in particular rainfall in Central Australia and the Barkly, has meant the risk of Murray Valley encephalitis extends across all of the Northern Territory until at least July,” Dr Markey said.

This is a tragic end of a young life. There is not much that can be done to prevent something so rare. It is just one of those random acts of nature. Like winning the lottery in reverse.