Mosquito-borne diseases after storm, flood or cyclone
The incubation period for mosquito-borne diseases varies. Symptoms are usually present 3-15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Common signs and symptoms are:
- joint or muscle pain
- skin rash
Most people infected with West Nile Virus Kunjin subtype and MVE viruses do not develop symptoms. However others–especially young children–may experience:
- high fever
- neck stiffness
- drowsiness or seizures.
It is important to seek prompt medical assistance if symptoms are experienced.
Mosquito-borne diseases are transmitted via bites by infected mosquitoes and cannot be transmitted directly from person-to-person. Different mosquitoes prefer to bite at different times of the day and night. It is important to be vigilant at all times and use the personal protection measures listed below to prevent being bitten.
If diagnosed with a mosquito-borne disease it is important to prevent being bitten again by mosquitoes to ensure the disease transmission cycle does not continue. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for advice on the most appropriate course of treatment.
There are several measures that can be taken by the public to prevent mosquito-borne diseases from occurring. Personal protection measures can reduce the risk of you and your family getting bitten by mosquitoes:
- use insect repellent (in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions), especially when outside at dawn or dusk
- in dengue receptive areas (north Queensland) protect against mosquito bites during the day as the dengue mosquito bites during the day and likes to rest indoors
- wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
- use flying insect spray, mosquito coils or plug-in insecticide devices to kill mosquitoes in-doors
- use bed nets, if available
- repair defective insect screens or fit new screens, if possible.
Personal repellents containing DEET or picaridin are more effective than other repellents. Repellents containing picaridin are considered safe for children, however the use of topical repellents is not recommended for infants under three months of age. It is best to use physical barriers-such as nets on prams and cots-to protect infants less than three months of age. Young children should not apply repellents themselves. Repellents should be applied to the hands of a carer first, and then applied evenly to the child's exposed skin.
Around the house
An effective way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Remove debris and vegetation from storm drains and ditches. Drain areas in and around yards and workplaces where water has accumulated. Empty all containers including buckets, tyres, bird baths and palm fronds weekly to reduce mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes can breed in domestic water tanks, so checking the integrity of water tank screens and replacing damaged screens is a sound prevention measure.
- read about insect repellents
- read about rainwater tanks
- Don't get bitten by mosquitos - poster (PDF 311kb)
- call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for your nearest Queensland Health public health unit
- call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) at any time for practical medical advice
- contact your doctor, hospital or health clinc.