Mick Humphreys counts himself lucky to be a survivor of Japanese encephalitis, but says there is much work to be done before communities can be safe.
Mr Humphreys, who calls Carlyle on the NSW-Victorian border home, was the sixth person to be hospitalised with the disease.
He was also the first to contract both COVID-19 and Japanese encephalitis at the same time.
Mr Humphreys, who worked at the Rivalea piggery for 42 years before he retired six years ago, lives along the Murray River with his wife Jenny, 66, and son Matthew, 26.
Both have both been tested and await results.
"In between me and the piggery is Corowa and Wahgunyah of course, and Rutherglen's only south of me eight kilometres away," he said.
"The mosquitoes will travel four kilometres from their nest. I am well in the four k's. It's in a big area."
Mr Humphreys, who always takes care to avoid mosquito bites by putting methylated spirits on his legs after a hot shower, remembered the moment he was bitten in March.
"I was the one telling my wife and my family to be inside before four-o-clock," he said. "The mozzies were that bad."
The pressure of his head on the pillow became unbearable when the symptoms began.
"I was blaming the pillows," he said. "I couldn't lay in bed, I had to sit in the lounge."
After a week with "massive headaches" and a stiff neck "all the time", Mr Humphreys realised his driving "wasn't very good".
He said when his family members spoke to him, what he was saying back to them was not in the conversation. "I just wasn't there," he said.
Mrs Humphreys said the diagnosis was a big shock to the family.
"I didn't believe it, because he was so careful, and he was telling everyone else to be careful, and he's the one that got it," she said.
"We went to a finance adviser before we knew what it was, and usually he's pretty good with his figures, but no, he wasn't any good that day we went.
"The finance adviser said there's something wrong with Mick, he's not with it."
On the way home in Wodonga, the Humphreys decided to get tested for COVID, thinking it might be the reason behind his symptoms, only to get a negative result.
"He had bad nightmares, it was terrible," Mrs Humphreys said.
Since leaving hospital, he is making it a mission to ensure no more lives are lost.
"If I can save one person's life, I'll be grateful," he said.
Mr Humphreys was advised the damage to his brain was permanent.
"I'm disappointed with NSW Health," he said.
"Why can't (the state governments) work on this issue together."
He believes the blood sample testing should have also been done in Rutherglen, Wahgunyah and Albury-Wodonga regions around the NSW-Victorian border.
"There is no cure," Mr Humphreys said.
"It was a terrible experience to go through."
He has contacted Benambra MP Bill Tilley and Indi MP Helen Haines, who both escalated his requests for community vaccinations.
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