Mossies rampant after rain
MOSSIES - that usual summer nuisance - are currently thick around Tweed shire, prompting a warning by health authorities of mosquito-borne viruses.
The plague of the pest has been blamed on an increase in the breeding rate brought about by the recent heavy rain and high tides which followed a dry spell.
Tweed Shire Council entomologist Clive Easton said council's mosquito-larvae control program of aerial spraying and hand-based methods had been very active in the past few months.
Due to drought conditions earlier this year, Mr Easton said, natural mosquito-larval predators such as fish and other insects were decimated, but the eggs of the saltmarsh and other mosquito species remained dormant in the wetlands, hatching after flooding.
The Northern Rivers Public Health Unit has warned of the dangers of mosquitoborne illnesses - Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus - over the holiday period.
Unit director Greg Bell said although the viruses had become increasingly prevalent in the area in recent years, there was no known cure.
The only treatment, Mr Bell said, was to ease the symptoms, which include pains in the wrists, knees, ankles and small joints in the hands and feet and tiredness that might be followed by a rash and fever.
Anyone with these symptoms should contact their doctor, but he said protection was the best strategy.
"Use insect repellent, wear long, loose, light-coloured, protective clothing when outdoors, especially during early morning and early evening - screen living and sleeping areas or use mosquito nets, and remove any containers or rubbish that can hold water from around the home."
This year the unit had been notified of 156 cases of Ross River virus and 112 of Barmah Forest virus.