Mossie bites can be lethal

THE NSW Department of Health has reminded Tweed residents to take extra precautions and protect themselves against mosquitoes.

This warning comes following the detection of Murray Valley Encephalitis or MVE virus in parts of Victoria and NSW.

NSW Health Protection acting director Dr Michael Staff, said it was a timely reminder for all people to cover up and avoid mosquito bites.

“Recent flooding and warm weather increase exposure to mosquito borne viruses such as Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus which are common in NSW and can cause illness with symptoms including tiredness, rash, fever and sore swollen joints,” Dr Staff said.

“While Murray Valley Encephalitis or MVE is rare, and most people will not develop symptoms, it is still a serious mosquito-borne disease that can lead to permanent brain damage and may be fatal in severe cases,” Dr Staff warned.

In mild cases, symptoms of MVE include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting and muscle aches.

In more severe cases symptoms can include neck stiffness, lethargy, delirium, tremors and in severe cases, coma.

People with symptoms should immediately seek medical assistance.

“In young children, fever might be the only early sign, so parents should see their doctor if concerned, and particularly if their child has convulsions, drowsiness, floppiness, irritability, poor feeding or general distress,” Dr Staff said.

“The MVE virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes which breed in flooded, grassy and swamp areas and near rivers and waterways.

“The mosquito is especially active at dawn and around sundown, with a peak in the first two hours of the night.”

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