Warnings have been raised in NSW following the detection of an uncommon disease that can, in rare cases, cause severe neurological illnesses.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has confirmed Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has been detected in samples from six piggeries across Western and Southern NSW.
JEV is a mosquito borne disease than can cause serious reproductive failures in pigs and in humans has the small chance of causing headaches and convulsions.
Dr Sarah Britton, the DPI's Chief Veterinary Officer, said the virus does not present a food safety risk and all Australian grown pork remains safe to eat.
An incident management team has been created to lead an emergency response and work to minimise the impact on industry and the community.
NSW Health has issued a public health alert, urging residents in the Riverina and across NSW to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
"There is no specific treatment for JE or other mosquito-borne viruses," NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said.
"The best way to avoid infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitos."
The outbreak comes off the back of a hot and wet summer which has caused a major population boom for mosquitos across the Riverina.
Farmers who suspect JEV in their pigs or other livestock are urged to report to the DPI's 24-hour emergency animal disease hotline on 1800 675 888.
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