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Mosquito spraying in Rockhampton after positive Zika test

Health authorities have started spraying mosquitoes around a hotel in Rockhampton following confirmation of a case of imported Zika virus with close connections to the area.

A man tested positive for the disease today after recently returning from South America. The man has spent time at the hotel and the mosquito that carries the disease, Aedes aegypti, has been detected near the hotel.

The virus was not acquired locally and there have been no reported cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Queensland.

Queensland’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said Zika virus, like dengue, could be spread if an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites an infected person, is then itself infected, and then goes on to bite another person.”

“As a precaution, spraying is currently taking place near the hotel,” Dr Bennett said.

“Tomorrow we plan to initiate a public health declaration which will enable us to spray in the yards of homes and businesses within a 200 metre radius of The Globe Hotel in Depot Hill.

“Homes and businesses outside of this area are at a reduced risk because the Aedes aegypti is not known to fly very far.

“I understand this may cause some concern to pregnant women around Depot Hill. Public health officers will be conducting door knocks of the area and speaking personally with pregnant women.

“Our message to them is to ensure there are no breeding areas for the mosquito around their homes, to use mosquito surface spray inside their homes and to use mosquito repellent containing DEET on their bodies.

“If anyone in the affected area is unwell and concerned they should visit their GP to discuss testing for the disease.

“Any pregnant woman in the affected area who is concerned should also visit their GP to discuss their options for testing.

“We are alerting the Depot Hill community to this issue and would like them to work with us in mitigating that risk.”

Dr Bennett asked residents to:

  • tip out any water in things like plastic containers, tarpaulins or buckets.
  • store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, including work equipment, surplus materials or trailers, and keep bins covered.
  • throw out any rubbish lying around like unused or empty containers, tyres, additional materials and keep worksites tidy.

“Wearing insect repellent at all times of the day will also help reduce your risk of being bitten by a mosquito.”

Dr Bennett said residents in the affected zone were encouraged to get tested for the virus if they experience symptoms which could be related to Zika virus infection in the next 2 weeks.

The test involves a simple blood sample with results returned in a matter of days.

Last updated: 24 February 2016