Ross River virus is Australia's main mosquito-borne disease, there is no vaccine and it costs the Australian economy more than $20m a year to detect.
Ross River virus is Australia's main mosquito-borne disease, there is no vaccine and it costs the Australian economy more than $20m a year to detect.

Mozzies infect 150 people

MOSQUITOES have infected more than 150 locals with diseases this year.

NewsRegional analysis of NSW health data shows 114 people living in the Northern NSW health district were diagnosed with Ross River virus in the past seven months.

This is well above last year's notification rate of 52.

There are also 15 cases of dengue fever and 27 cases of the Barmah Forest virus, both of which mosquitoes spread.

Across NSW, there have been 1204 infections reported in the past seven months, compared to a total 640 for all of 2016.

The Coffs Clarence does not have a specific mosquito-control plan but it will participate in the Northern Rivers Emerging Vector Response Plan overseen by Tweed Council.

The plan includes the creation of a response manual, mock outbreak scenarios, building a cross-scale network and providing integrated mechanisms for the region to respond rapidly before potential mosquito outbreaks. Ross River virus is Australia's main mosquito-borne disease.

There is no vaccine and it costs the Australian economy more than $20 million a year to detect.

The main treatment for the disease is anti-inflammatory medications.

Virologist Professor John Aaskov said infection rates could rise across our region.

Prof Aaskov said transmissions of the disease in our region was most likely human-mosquito-human rather than animal-mosquito-human.

"At the moment, the only way to stop the disease is to cover yourself up and some of the sunscreens have mosquito repellents in them,” he said.

"Really, all we can do is avoid getting mosquito bites.”

NSW Health in February issued public alerts after it found increased mosquito numbers across the state.

"In response to increasing mosquito numbers following floods, NSW Health added additional sites to trap mosquitoes in affected areas, provided information to affected communities and GPs, and advised local governments to inform ongoing mosquito management,” it said in a statement.

"NSW Health also convened a panel of experts to review information and predictive models to inform the best preventive strategies.

"There is little evidence that broad-scale spraying is useful in these situations, the main prevention focus is local control measures along with advice on personal protection.”



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