Mosquitoes leaving a mark
A WARNING concerning mosquito-spread diseases has been issued to Tweed residents after 93 Barmah Forest Virus cases were reported on the North Coast.
The North Coast Public Health Unit has warned of an expected seasonal increase in the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases over the coming weeks and over the Easter holiday period.
Acting senior environmental health officer David Basso said both Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses were common on the coast.
“The diseases caused by these viruses can result in painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue, and headaches,” Mr Basso said.
“We have had 93 Barmah Forest Virus notifications so far this year, which is 75% above the five-year average for the same time period.
“Ross River Virus notifications are currently at 29, which is 59% lower than the number of cases we would have expected by this stage of the season when compared to the average over the last five years.”
Mr Basso said recent weather had made the Tweed Shire and North Coast region prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
“A combination of late summer rainfall, larger than usual high tides and the warm conditions over recent weeks have provided favourable breeding conditions for mosquitoes,” Mr Basso.
“This has resulted in high numbers of mosquitoes at several of our trapping sites and recently the detection of the Ross River virus in the mosquitoes caught at one of the trapping sites.
“The only way to avoid these mosquito-borne diseases is to not get bitten by mosquitoes.”
Mr Basso said cases of mosquito-spread diseases had been reported from all government areas across the North Coast.
HOW TO AVOID MOSQUITO BITES
- Try to avoid areas where mosquitoes are common, such as bushland, wetlands and swamps.
- If you need to visit these mosquito-prone areas avoid peak times when mosquitoes are most active (dawn and dusk).
- If you must visit high-risk places or be outside when mosquitoes are most active you should wear loose, light fitting clothing with long sleeves and trousers to cover your skin.
- Wear personal insect repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin. Apply as directed by the label on the product and re-apply regularly.
- If you start feeling mosquito bites then it’s time to re-apply the insect repellent.
- Get rid of mosquitoes in and around your home. You can do this by emptying any water holding vessels outside and ensuring flyscreens are intact for all doors and windows in your home.
- You can also use plug-in insecticide mats, flying insect knock-down spray, sleep under mosquito nets or a fan to reduce your chances of being bitten.