Mozzie diseases increase
AN increase in reported cases of mosquito-borne diseases has prompted a warning for people to reduce their risk of being bitten.
According to the North Coast Public Health Unit there have been 93 notifications of Barmah Forest fever so far this year – an increase of 75% on the five-year average.
In the same period there have been 29 cases of Ross River fever across the region, which is a 59% decrease on the five-year average.
The unit's acting senior environmental health officer David Basso said both Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus were common on the coast and the diseases caused by these viruses could result in painful or swollen joints, sore muscles, skin rashes, fever, fatigue, and headaches.
“Cases have been reported from all local government areas across the North Coast but we have seen higher rates of infection in residents living in the Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Nambucca and Richmond Valley Local Government Areas,” Mr Basso said.
“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. 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”. He said the only way to avoid these mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
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. Wear loose, light-fitting clothing with long sleeves and trousers to cover your skin.
Use personal insect repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin and re-apply regularly.
Remove mosquitoes from 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.