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A mother has issued a desperate warning to other parents about the dangers of the Japanese encephalitis virus after her four-month-old baby caught the deadly illness on a camping trip.
Bec Kinross, 39, was staying a caravan park at Ebden, in north-east Victoria on Australia Day with her partner Luke and son Sam when the youngster was bitten by a mosquito.
The little boy showed no signs of a mosquito bite at the time but developed serious symptoms, including a seizure and a high fever, two weeks later.
Ms Kinross frantically called triple-zero, unware Sam had contracted the potentially fatal and emerging virus, also known as JEV.
A mother has issued a warning to other parents after her four-month-old baby was hospitalised with the deadly Japanese encephalitis virus passed on from a mosquito bite (pictured, baby Sam with his parents Bec and Luke)
The four-month-old suffered a seizure two weeks after a family holiday in remote Victoria
‘I was absolutely numb,’ she told 7Life.
‘The ambulance took 20 to 25 minutes to get here and I honestly didn’t think they would make it in time.’
Sam was rushed to The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and admitted to the intensive care ward, where he was initially diagnosed with viral meningitis.
On March 2, doctors confirmed the baby had tested positive to JEV – which spreads through infected mosquitos.
‘I was dumbfounded… I didn’t even notice a mozzie bite on Sam,’ Ms Kinross said. ‘There were no bites seen on him in the two weeks leading up or after at all.’
On February 14 – the night Sam was taken to hospital – he had a temperature of 38C, stiff arms and limp lower limbs.
When Sam then started convulsing, Bec and her partner Luke were terrified.
Ms Kinross – whose baby has now made a full recovery – urged other parents to take preventative measures to avoid going through the same situation.
Following the ordeal, Bec Kinross has recommended being vigilant when outdoors, dressing children in long sleeved clothing and to use insect repellent
Ms Kinross recommended being vigilant when outdoors, dressing children in long sleeved clothing and using insect repellent.
In another lesson for parents, she and her partner were left with a hefty medical bill due to the fact they didn’t have ambulance cover for young Sam.
They have since established a GoFundMe page to assist with their medical bills.
Two people in Australia have died from Japanese encephalitis – a NSW man in his 70s and a Victorian man in his 60s.
What is Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV)?
- Japanese encephalitis is a rare disease caused by the Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), which is spread by infected mosquitoes
- It is more common in rural areas across Australia
- It cannot be transmitted from human to human, or by eating meat from an infected animal
- Infections of Japanese encephalitis virus have been increasing in Australia, particularly in the wake of wet weather and flooding on the east coast which has led to an increase in mosquito populations
Source: DailyMail AU