SHIC/AASV March 29 Webinar on Australian Outbreak of JEV

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) and American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) are hosting a webinar on the recent outbreak of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) in pigs and humans in Australia on Tuesday, March 29, at 3:00 pm CDT. JEV is a zoonotic pathogen. As of March 22, the Australian Department of Health is reporting 32 suspected cases of JEV in humans, 20 of which have been confirmed. Three deaths have occurred.

Amplification of JEV in swine often precedes human epidemics. It causes an estimated 70,000 cases of viral encephalitis annually, with less than 1% of people infected developing severe disease, but with a 20% to 30% mortality rate. However, humans are incidental (dead-end) hosts.

During the webinar, Drs. Bernie Gleeson and Kirsty Richards, Sun Pork of Australia, will share the clinical picture, discovery, and response to date there. Dr. Leela Noronha, Research Veterinary Medical Officer, Foreign Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit, National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, along with Dr. Natalia Cernicchiaro, Kansas State University, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, will discuss the virus’s epidemiology and risk of importation into the US.   

As shared last week, an active outbreak of mosquito-borne JEV in the Australian states of Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia was first reported to the OIE on March 10. Outbreaks vary from intensive, fully-housed, sow farms to free range farms, with susceptible swine populations on affected sites ranging from five to 100,000 animals, according to OIE reports.

Clinical signs have included an increase in stillborn pigs, mummified fetuses, and abortions as well as live pigs born with neurological symptoms including shaking and fine motor tremors. Reports from specific sites include up to a 70% stillborn rate, 50% of sows affected over the last two weeks, and approximately 20% of litters being affected.

JEV is an OIE-listed disease and must be reported internationally according to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Any suspicious clinical or necropsy findings should always be reported to the USDA and your State Animal Health Official. A complete description of JEV in pigs can be found in the SHIC Japanese encephalitis virus fact sheet.

SHIC, launched by the National Pork Board in 2015 solely with Pork Checkoff funding, continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness, and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of US swine health. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages sharing of its publications and research. Forward, reprint, and quote SHIC material freely. SHIC is funded by America’s pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the US swine herd. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Sundberg at [email protected].