Keep mosquitoes on the naughty list this summer

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Summer’s here and mosquitoes are breeding, but before you dive into the festive season, gear up with tips to avoid mosquito bites for an itch-free and joyful season.

As mosquito season ramps up in Queensland, Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard urged residents to be extra vigilant against bites.

“Mosquito numbers always increase in warmer weather, and recent rain showers have created perfect breeding grounds,” Dr Gerrard said.

“If you’re enjoying outdoor activities this summer, particularly sports, bushwalking, gardening, and backyard barbeques, you need to be aware of mosquitoes.

“Biting can be experienced at any time of day, but some species are most active at dusk and dawn.

“Simple steps like applying insect repellent, wearing loose, light-coloured clothing to cover up arms, legs and feet and using other insecticide-based mosquito control devices, can help prevent mosquitoes from biting.”Dr Gerrard said it was also important to take measures around your home to prevent mosquitoes breeding.

“You should empty any containers holding water around your home at least weekly and ensure flyscreens are in good order so mosquitoes can’t enter your home easily,” he said.

Dr Gerrard said that Ross River virus infections remain the most common mosquito-borne disease reported in Queensland, accounting for the majority of notifications.

“A total of 837 cases of Ross River virus were recorded across the state last year, and there have been 676 cases observed so far this year,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Ross River virus can be found in more than 40 different mosquito species across Australia. Mosquitoes get the virus by biting infected animals and then pass it on to humans through their bite.

“Typically, we see cases start increasing with the onset of rain and warm temperatures in December before they peak in February and March.”

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment available for Ross River virus.

“Symptoms of Ross River virus may include fever, swollen and painful joints, and a rash,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Thankfully, these can be managed to ease discomfort. While most people recover in a few weeks, some people experience joint pain and fatigue for months.

“Queenslanders need to be vigilant and protect themselves from mosquito bites as much as possible, especially with recent rain.”