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Pathology of Murray Valley Encephalitis

Dr Sampurna Roy MD




Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) is an important mosquito-borne flavivirus infection endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) was isolated during an epidemic of encephalitis in the Murray River valley in Victoria and South Australia in 1951.

Perhaps the same virus has been isolated earlier during epidemics of encephalitis in 1917-1918, when it went under the name of Australian X disease.

The primary hosts of Murray Valley encephalitis virus are water birds.

Culex annulirostris is the primary mosquito vector.

There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission.

Murray Valley Encephalitis virus can commonly cause :

Subclinical infection  ; 

Relatively mild disease with features such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting ;

In some infected patients , mild disease may further progress to involve the central nervous system, causing meningitis ;

Finally there may be encephalitis of variable severity.

Signs of brain dysfunction include drowsiness, confusion, weakness, or ataxia.

These features indicate the onset of encephalitis.

Infection is confirmed by a significant rise in antibody titre to the virus in two blood specimens taken seven to ten days apart.

A diagnosis of the disease should be considered in any patient who presents with encephalitis or central nervous system symptoms and who has been in the endemic area within the incubation period of the disease, (usually between November and July).


Further reading:

Morphological features of Murray Valley encephalitis virus

Characterization of infectious Murray Valley encephalitis

The Changing Epidemiology of Murray Valley Encephalitis

Murray Valley encephalitis: a review of clinical features

MR Findings in Murray Valley Encephalitis

Murray Valley encephalitis in an adult traveller complicated by long-term flaccid paralysis: case report and review of the literature.

Murray valley encephalitis mimicking herpes simplex encephalitis.

Clinical and laboratory findings on the first imported case of Murray Valley encephalitis in Europe.

Investigation of the southern limits of Murray Valley encephalitis activity in Western Australia during the 2000 wet season.

Murray Valley encephalitis virus surveillance and control initiatives in Australia. National Arbovirus Advisory Committee of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia.

Murray Valley encephalitis in Western Australia in 2000, with evidence of southerly spread.




Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







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