The 76 year old Helensvale woman’s leg after being bitten by mosquito bites and contracting Ross River virus.
The 76 year old Helensvale woman’s leg after being bitten by mosquito bites and contracting Ross River virus.

Coast woman ‘almost eaten alive’ by mosquito virus

AN elderly Gold Coast woman is warning about the risk of contracting Ross River virus, which she now suffers from after being "almost eaten alive'' by mosquitoes in her own home.

The 76-year-old Helensvale woman was diagnosed this month with the viral disease after enduring the bites of growing swarms in the estates surrounding the now liquidated Helensvale Golf Club.

As of March 2018, the city council took possession of the golf course and undertakes basic maintenance on the site, including mowing, trimming greens and weeds around water bodies.

The woman, who does not want to be named, is the fifth Gold Coast local to be diagnosed with the virus this year.

The woman said she had seen an increase in the number of mosquitoes at her property in recent months, with the problem reaching the point now where she can no longer go outside her home.

Now down to just 49 kilograms due to weight loss triggered by the virus, she wants the city council to act to get rid of the swarms.

"I have been here for over a year but I have never seen it so bad," she said.

"There are others in the area also concerned about the number of mosquitoes at the water near the golf club.

Doctors are trying to find another treatment. Pic Tim Marsden
Doctors are trying to find another treatment. Pic Tim Marsden

"The area hasn't operated in over a year and there is a lot of stagnant water."

Despite using every preventive measure possible, the woman is covered in bites.

"I have been popping pain killers to deal with the pain in my joints. It shouldn't have gotten this bad that people's health is at risk."

According to Queensland Health, Ross River virus causes inflammation and pain in joints.

Symptoms that include fever, joint pain and swelling, and a red rash, can last two to six weeks.

Pest expert Michael Azzopardi, owner of Gold Coast Pest Management Solutions, said complaints of mosquito swarms were common around golf courses.

"I get a lot of mosquitoes but I hadn't heard of Ross River this far south," Mr Azzopardi said.

"Breeding grounds are usually areas that have been cleared for development with some bushland and water in that area.

Jaana Wenham from the Centre for Disease Control in medical entomology want residents to remain vigilant and protect themselves against mosquitoes.
Jaana Wenham from the Centre for Disease Control in medical entomology want residents to remain vigilant and protect themselves against mosquitoes.

 

"We also get heaps of calls to Hope Island and Sanctuary Cove for the same reasons.

"It is actually really bad up this end of town. Golf courses, nurseries and other spaces should be smogging regularly to keep numbers down."

The Gold Coast City Council said it had received requests for action in the Helensvale area.

"Mosquito and biting midge fogging is scheduled for Helensvale and surrounding areas on Thursday, 14 February, weather permitting," a spokeswoman said.

"We do not implement control measures on private property, however we monitor and treat known mosquito breeding sites on public property such as drains and marshes."

The fogging program implemented around the Helensvale Golf Club is expected to reduce numbers of adult mosquitoes in the area.

The council has identified the Coombabah conservation area as a mosquito breeding site.



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