Cases of a deadly mosquito-borne virus increased dramatically in Australia last year, with further outbreaks possible this summer.
Three people died and there were 16 confirmed cases of Murray Valley encephalitis virus in 2011, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia.
There were no cases reported in 2010 and just four confirmed cases of the virus in 2009, data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System shows.
The virus is endemic in northern Australia but re-emerged in southeastern Australia last year, according to author Dr Jack Richards, of the Victorian Infectious Disease Service at Royal Melbourne Hospital, and his co-authors.
The increase in cases came in the wake of significant regional flooding, with deaths occurring in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.