Vale David Kiefel

A life well lived. Corowa local David Kiefel has died following a three-month battle with Japanese encephalitis.

Much-loved Corowa local David Kiefel has died following his brave battle with Japanese encephalitis.

His wife, Jacqueline Monk, broke the sad news on Saturday revealing that her husband did not wish to live a life without quality in a long-term care facility.

Mr Kiefel contracted the virus sometime in February following a wet, humid summer and a boom mosquito numbers.

The 61-year-old was airlifted to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne on March 1 where it was touch and go for quite some time.

Less than two weeks after being admitted to ICU he awoke and remained in a cognitive state much to the delight of those around him and was returned to Albury ICU shortly after.

Over the last three months, Ms Monk remained by her husband’s side. As David was breathing with the assistance of a tracheostomy, he communicated with facial expressions, eventually coming to terms with the fact that the virus had caused permanent nerve damage to his spinal cord, meaning a life of full paralysis, and breathing assistance.

Ms Monk made a touching tribute to her “brave” husband

“David decided he was ready to take the journey to Heaven on his own terms. I'm so proud of his courage and dignity,” she said.

“David passed late Friday 20/5 evening peacefully in my arms. A good man. A fabulous husband. A wonderful friend.”

Mr Kiefel was well-known face around Corowa, involved in several clubs and organisations.

Corowa Rutherglen Football Netball Club made a touching tribute on Facebook to Mr Kiefel who served as Treasurer in 2018/2018.

“The Corowa-Rutherglen Football Netball Club are deeply saddened by the passing of our former Treasurer, David Kiefel. A long-time supporter of our club who did two terms as treasurer. Condolences to Jacqui and the Kiefel family.”

Corowa Community Garden also paid tribute to their “dear friend”.

“David was a founding member of the garden. He generously shared his vast gardening knowledge, and his kindness and friendship will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences to Jacqui and all the family.”

NSW Health confirmed on Monday that a Corowa man was the second person in NSW to die with Japanese encephalitis.

So far, a total of 13 NSW residents have been infected with Japanese encephalitis.

The virus was first detected in the state in February and is spread by mosquitoes, affecting animals and humans.

“While evidence shows mosquito numbers have declined, it remains important that people throughout the state continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites,” NSW Health said.

“People considered higher risk for exposure include workers in piggeries, animal transport, veterinarians and students working with pigs, laboratory workers handling Japanese encephalitis, entomologists and others engaging in animal and mosquito trapping for surveillance.

“The virus cannot be transmitted between humans, and it cannot be caught by eating pork or other pig products.”

Japanese encephalitis can cause severe neurological illness with headache, convulsions and reduced consciousness in some cases.