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Mosquitoes with Ross River identified on Fraser Coast

The Wide Bay Public Health Unit is reminding the community to take active steps to avoid mosquito bites, after trapping in the past four weeks identified Ross River Virus in mosquitoes collected from coastal areas of Fraser Coast.

Wide Bay Public Health Physician Dr Margaret Young said Ross River virus was one of the most common causes of mosquito-borne diseases in Wide Bay.

“It wasn’t entirely surprising to discover mosquitoes carrying the virus, because the recent warm weather and high tides make breeding conditions ideal,” Dr Young said.

“While we have discovered these mosquitoes with Ross River, year-to-date notifications for humans with both Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses remain low, with five and one case each respectively.

“However, the favourable breeding conditions, together with the confirmed presence of virus in mosquitoes, indicates that the community should take measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

Dr Young said there were a number of precautionary steps people could take to discourage mosquitoes around their home and to protect themselves from bites.

“People can discourage mosquitoes around the home by removing stationary water they may breed in – whether that’s buckets, pot plant bases, tyres or a poorly maintained fish pond or swimming pool,” she said.

“If you have a water tank, check its screening is adequate and still in place, and ensure that you regularly empty any containers or items around your home that hold water.

“You can also avoid or reduce the likelihood of a bite by wearing loose, light-coloured and long-sleeved clothing; applying insect repellent on exposed areas; having insect spray available when needed and ensuring insect screens on doors and windows are in good condition.”

Ross River Virus, as well as Barmah Forest Virus, will cause aching joints and pains, lethargy and headaches. Anyone with symptoms that last more than a day or two should see their doctor.

Blood tests are needed to confirm diagnosis and there are no specific treatments for either virus.

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Last updated: 28 June 2019